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How Jesus Did the Process of the Gospel: The Power of POSITIVE APPRECIATION in Unexpected Places
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Doug Hall's picture

Jesus so liked being with common people and outcasts, that religious leaders said he was “a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” He went out of his way to show his love for those who did not usually receive it -- women (including those of ill repute), children, the sick, infirm and outcast, and the harassed masses -- and, in return, they loved him back! 

 

Jesus’ positive regard of women was groundbreaking in his day:

  • To the sinful woman who cleansed his feet with perfume and her tears, he said, “whoever has been forgiven much, loves much.”

  • To Mary of Bethany who chose to sit at his feet and anoint his head for burial, he said, “She has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her,” and “wherever this gospel is preached …what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

  • To the woman taken in adultery, whose accusers he told, “Let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone,” he said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

  • How Jesus loved the open candor of the Samaritan woman at the well of Sychar, who happily invited people to “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did,” asking, “Could this be the Messiah?” It was food and drink to him! He said of her, “The field is already white – ready to harvest!”

  • He appreciated the women he had “cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others,” who helped him and his disciples “out of their own means.”

  • After seeing the rich “giving large gifts into the temple treasury,” Jesus extolled the poor widow who “out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

 

 

Jesus’ positive regard of children, the disrespected and the vulnerable was legendary:

 

As he told a story about a repentant tax collector and a self-exalting religious leader, “people were bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them.” The disciples rebuked them for interrupting his story, but he used it to teach his point, saying, “Let the little children come to me, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,” concluding that the “sinner” in his story “went home justified before God” because he repented and became like a child: “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.

Then Jesus’ words took on even more power: “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted,” and, “Whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."  Finally he dropped a bombshell, “If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in me -- to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Jesus loved the vulnerable, and expects us to do so as well!

 

 

Jesus’ longed for his followers to show positive regard for the harassed masses:

Whether a paralytic carried by friends, a tax collector burdened with guilt, a father overcome by grief for a dead daughter, a woman bleeding for twelve years, the blind, the mute or the demon-possessed, Jesus had compassion on the “harassed and helpless” who were “like sheep without a shepherd.” Wanting his followers to have the same positive regard of the “harassed sheep” that he had, he enjoined, “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.”  

     
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