Everyone Needs Jesus
In Luke chapter seven is a fascinating story: Jesus has been invited to eat at a Pharisee's house. At this dinner–a typical upper-class meal in that culture–the invited guests surrounding the table, reclining with their feet stretched behind them, and uninvited guests are free to line the walls of the room, picking up scraps of conversation and food.
One of these uninvited persons is a woman "of the city–a sinner." She leaves her place at the edge of the room and draws near to Jesus, weeping heavily over his feet and washing away the dirt. She then dries his feet with her hair and bathes them in expensive ointment.
Simon, the Pharisee and host of the meal, is indignant. He can't believe Jesus would let a sinner draw near him and show him that kind of unabashed love. So Jesus tells Simon a story: A rich man had two debtors, one of which owed him about 10 times more that the other. Both, says Jesus, are unable to pay. So the man forgives their debt.
Jesus then asks Simon, "who do you think loved him more?" "The one with the greater debt," replies Simon. And he's right. But he's also revealed his own heart. Jesus' point is clear–the reason Simon does not love Jesus the way this woman of the city loves him is that Simon doesn't really know how much he needs Jesus.
This principle is foundational for us. We must know that everyone, including ourselves, need Jesus. It's because of this that we will seek to be a church who welcomes in the outsider (like the woman). And we'll are a church that believes that insiders also need Jesus (like Simon). Of course, that means that we all need Jesus.
In light of this truth, we will:
- ... welcome those who are outside the church and those who are outside what we believe to be "normal." We'll welcome the hurting and the outcast. We will desire that our neighbors come to know the love of Christ.
- ... motivate ourselves and others by our need for Christ and his great love for us, rather than by duty, manipulation, or moralism.
- ... be about the Gospel and the Gospel only. Centered on our need for Jesus, we will resist becoming a place that is known for the way we vote, the way we school our children or the way we stand against the broader culture.