Jesus Befriending and Promoting the Lowly
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The Nature of God
This is the very nature of God. He chooses to love. He chooses humility and lowliness. We stoops down the level of the lowest. He does so because this is His nature. He isn't acting, He is being Himself. We are watching the kinds of choices our God makes when we witness the behavior of Jesus.


By: John Tisdale
Category: Jesus Befriending and Promoting the Lowly
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Jesus Loves the Poor

"-- I was talking to some high school kids, and one of them said, "Christianity? That`s just for middle class people who want to be rich." That`s a plastic version of Jesus and his church - that it`s really just for a bunch of middle class white folk. But the real Jesus of scripture isn`t like that at all; the real Jesus of scripture has a deep concern for the poor. In fact in his first public sermon where Jesus announces who he is he quotes Isaiah and says:

The spirit of the Lord is upon me

Because he has anointed me
To preach good news to the poor
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind.
To set at liberty those who are oppressed
And to proclaim the year of God`s favor.
''Luke 4:18-19''

The real Jesus cares deeply about the plight of the poor, and you will see that on virtually every page of scripture. The reason for this is quite simple: He loves them.

-- My friend Gary Haugen tells a story of a little girl in India named Shama; she is 7 years old. In order to pay some medical bills for her family, Shama has to work in a cigarette factory for 10 hours a day, 6 days a week rolling cigarettes. If she falls below her quota, she`s beaten, and since she only makes a few cents a day, she`ll never be able to pay off the medical bills. Now Jesus loves Shama. He loves her so much that he died in order that she could be reconciled to God, and it breaks his heart to see this beautiful creation made in his image so abused and robbed of her dignity. He wants her released from that, and he wants her to know him, and it`s that way with the homeless we encounter - poor people on the Eastside who don`t get the right medicine or education. Jesus wants them to know him and live the grand adventure he designed them to live rather than suffer in poverty.

-- There`s another reason Jesus calls us to care for the poor and that is because he loves us too. He wants to see us live the abundant life he died to give us. One of the deepest pains in middle class life is that we sometimes wonder if our lives have any significance. We wake up, we go to the office, we come home, we run the kids to soccer, we watch TV, fall asleep, 5 or 6 days a week, 50 or so weeks a year, round and round she goes and where she stops nobody knows. And in the middle of that we sometimes wonder - does this matter - do I matter? That subtly eats at us not like a raging virus, but like a low grade fever that slowly saps our energy, our vision, and our hope. I`m probably depressing you so I will stop.

-- God loves us so much that he wants us to know the joy of seeing him work, and certainly we can see him work in our offices and neighborhoods and families, but when we serve the poor we see God in a whole new way, partly because the poor remind us of our own need for God, but also because poverty can be so dark and so hopeless that if anything good happens there, we know it has to be God. So when we serve the poor our faith is increased and we know that God is real. We all know this deep down, but still for a lot of reasons we are reluctant to serve the poor, myself included. Maybe because it`s out of our comfort zones - that`s a big one for me - or we think it is someone else`s responsibility like the government. Sometimes we think that some people are poor because of bad choices they`ve made. Sometimes that`s true, and of course, sometimes it isn`t. Even when it is true - so what? Lots of people make bad `decisions that lead to all kinds of things like mid-life crises, divorces, and loneliness, and we still reach out to them and give them the tools to live new lives. Why wouldn`t we do the same with the poor? I think the biggest reason we`re reluctant to serve the poor, if we are, is because we don`t know how to help. The need seems so great, and our resources seem so few, and we just don`t know what to do. Let me give you some good news. God is not calling us to solve world poverty; he simply asks us to bring whatever we can and trust that the Lord who fed 5, 000 people with a few loaves and fish can bless and multiply whatever we bring to help a few hurting people in our midst.

-- You see this is Jesus` form of revolution. Most revolutions begin on the bottom when angry people rebel violently against people at the top. But Jesus` revolution is the reverse. It begins at the top when the rich and powerful are moved by his grace to acts of mercy and compassion and that changes the world and that builds his Kingdom. That`s why whatever we do, we do it in the name of Jesus so that people know their Savior and Lord. It grieves me that churches often divide into two camps. Churches who feed and clothe the poor, but never mention Jesus, leaving their bodies fed, but their souls starving, or you have churches that bring people to Jesus, but don`t feed them and so people don`t know the tangible love of God. Both are plastic versions of the real Jesus; the real Jesus calls us to do both.

-- And when we do, you know what we get; we get to see that God is real and God at work. In the passage we read in Isaiah the people are complaining that they call on God, but they don`t experience him. In other words their theology is right, their worship is right, but they don`t see God. God says if you serve the poor, you`ll see me. Jesus later echoes that when he says do this to the least of these, you`ve done it to me. I don`t think by that Jesus means that the poor are Jesus " there`s only one Jesus " I think what he means is when we serve the poor, we see him."

By: Scott Dudley
Category: Jesus Befriending and Promoting the Lowly
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God is passionate about the poor and oppressed

God is passionate about the poor and the oppressed. Scripture mentions caring for the poor over two thousand times. That`s a lot of mentions: as if God is really serious about that. It`s not that God loves poor people more than He loves somebody else; it`s that His attention is drawn to them in a certain way because they are hurting. John Wesley was a famous Methodist preacher and his mother had ten children, God rest her soul. She was once asked, "Which of your children do you love the most?" She said, "The one that is sick until he is well, the one that`s lost until he`s found." If one of my kids is hurt my attention is drawn to them in a particular way, and what I want my other children to do is help the hurting one.

By: Scott Dudley
Category: Jesus Befriending and Promoting the Lowly
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Who Did Jesus Come to Love?: Jesus Tests the Disciples

"-- We`re going to look at love - what this kingdom love looks like. This is one of the more striking stories in the New Testament. This is from Matthew, chapter 15:

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman came to him from that vicinity, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly." Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said. Jesus replied, "It is not right to take the children`s bread and toss it to their dogs." "Yes, Lord, " she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from thier masters` table." Then Jesus said to her, "You have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour. ''Matthew 15:21-28''

-- Now just a moment of truth here. How many of you think Jesus seems a little rude in this story? Doesn`t it kind of seem like He woke up on the wrong side of the bed or something in this deal? This is kind of a hard story to understand. It has become one of my absolute favorite passages. I just think it`s an unbelievable story. To being with, to understand it, a guy named Ken Bailey - a great New Testament guy - said that this is the story of a master teacher. And there are a few things you need to know. A master teacher understands that lecture alone is not enough to transform life. People need to experience truth. And, Bailey says, a master teacher is able to teach on more than one level, to more than one group at once. That`s part of what`s going on here. And Bailey says, to get the point of this passage, you have to see Jesus is kind of giving a test for two different groups of people, for the woman and the disciples. It`s test time. So we`re going to walk through the test and see who aces it and who`s having a little trouble with it.

-- Jesus and His friends are in a region that`s far north or where they usually are. Occasionally they would go there, probably for some rest. Tyre and Sidon were two Phoenician cities way up on the Mediterranean coast. And you need to know this for this story. The Israelites regarded these people as to be despised. Josephus, who was a historian in the first century, said the Israelites considered the people of Tyre "our bitterest enemies."

-- Jesus was teaching the Israelites one time and He said,

Woe to you, Chorazin and Bethsaida, ''two cities'' if the miracles that were performed in you ''in other words, the stuff I did in you'' had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. I tell you, it would be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the Day of Judgment than for you. ''Matthew 11:21-22''

Now why does He use Tyre and Sidon here? Well, He`s saying, even the people that you think are the most wicked people you know - like the spiritual bottom of the barrel - even Tyre and Sidon would have repented if they had seen what you`ve seen, the miracles that I`ve done with you. The people of Israel thought of Tyre and Sidon as the sin capital of the world. The town motto was, "what happens in Tyre and Sidon, stays in Tyre and Sidon." The point of all this is that this woman would be regarded by the disciples as a member of the most spiritually degraded people they know. But she comes to Jesus with the cry of a beggar: have mercy on me. She humbles herself. And she adds a little - "Lord." The Greek word was the word kurios , which could mean "sir", it could mean "master" and be an expression of submission. And I want you to notice in this story how this word comes up. It`s an amazing story. She calls him Son of David. She has learned something of Judaism. She is deeply respectful. And then Matthew says in verse 23,

Jesus does not say a word. ''Matthew 15:23''

This woman`s daughter is suffering terribly. She comes to Jesus in humility and reverence, and Jesus acts like He didn`t hear her. He blows her off. And you notice, now Matthew doesn`t try to hide this. Matthew is deliberately drawing your attention to it. So something`s going on. Matthew knows how this story is going to end up. We don`t know that yet. He wants his readers to have to struggle with this. He`s doing this on purpose. The woman has to decide here, "how deeply do I want healing for my daughter? How much am I willing to trust this guy?" It`s Part One of her exam. And I want to leave her for a second to look at the disciples. Here`s Jesus giving them a little lesson. They`re not surprised that their Rabbi wouldn`t talk to a woman, because what rabbi would? There`s actually a rabbinic saying from ancient times, roughly Jesus` days: "He that talks with womankind brings evil on himself, neglects the study of the law, and at the last will inherit Gehenna ''hell''." That`s a rabinic saying from ancient times. And that`s what these guys grew up with. Don`t have a conversation with a woman. So Jesus deliberately ignores this woman and watches the disciples to see what they`re going to do. Do they get it? Do they understand what He`s about? And in their response, in verse 23, they`re quite confident that their words are going to meet with Jesus` approval. They say to Jesus,

Send her away! She keeps crying out after us. ''Matthew 15:23''

That`s a little grandiose, isn`t it? Does this woman ever ask for them ? Whom does the woman ask for? She`s just coming for Jesus. But they rather generously include themselves in the woman`s request. "You know, Jesus, she`s bothering us. We came north to get away from all this, and everybody wants a piece of us, so You send her away." This is quite reminiscent of when the children try to come to Jesus. Some of you know this story. It says, the disciples rebuked them. They considered themselves quite expert at whom does Jesus want to be with and whom does He not. And we`ll see if they`re right.

-- Jesus goes on to Part Two of this exam. Again, He`s talking to the disciples here. They come to Him,

Send her away! ''Matthew 15:23b''

Jesus says,

I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. ''Matthew 15:24''

Now why does He say this? Because in a lot of other places, even in Matthew`s gospel, Jesus makes it real clear that He came so that the whole world might be saved, so that no one would perish. Earlier in Matthew another Gentile, a Roman centurion, came to Jesus with a request, and Jesus granted it. He healed the servant, and then said,

I haven`t found faith like this Gentile Roman centurion has. I haven`t found anybody in Israel who`s got that kind of faith. ''Matthew 8:10''

Jesus also says that He came so that many will enter the kingdom. There`s that word again. Jesus came so that people will enter this kingdom, this realm of God`s presence and God`s power.

Many will enter the kingdom from the east and west . ''Matthew 8:11''

Now that phrase, when you run across that in the Bible, that`s technical language, that means Gentiles, people who don`t live in Israel, people from the east and the west. Jesus said He came so that they could enter into the kingdom. So why here does He say, "I was sent to the lost sheep of Israel"?

-- Well, Ken Bailey says, He`s testing the disciples. Good teachers don`t just give lectures. Jesus tried the lecture approach after the children deal, and that`s not working so well. The disciples need some remedial help. When I was in the first grade, teachers would assign students to reading groups based on how well they could read. But they wouldnt` call the groups the good readers and the bad readers because that might hurt our feelings. They would name all the groups after birds so that everyone would feel equal, but you could tell how you were doing by what bird your group was named after. So there were the eagles, and the robins, and the pigeons. And the disciples are in the pigeon group. So Jesus appears to agree with them, "of course! I`ll get rid of her. I was sent to Israel! We`re God`s favorites. We`re on the inside. We`re us. We have no time for Gentiel, female, second-rate riffraff. Good call, guys! I`ll send her away!" But you notice, does he send her away? No, He doesn`t. And He watches the disciples to see how they`ll respond. Will anybody disagree? This is the master teacher at work. Will anybody get it? Will anybody stand up for her? No, they all nod their heads. "Yes, that`s right, send her away!" Now, simultaneously, the woman is going through Part Two of her test. She`s hearing all this. Again, picture the scene. Jesus is facing and talking with his disciples. His words say to her, in effect, "you`re an outsider. I`m the son of David. You`re not my mission. Why should I serve you?"

-- And now, is her concern for hre child so deep, is her confidence in Jesus` compassion and power so great that she`ll just persevere, just keep going? In her mind, she can hear her daughter screaming. She has nobody else to turn to. She has nowhere else to go. So she kneels down, in a posture of deep humility and reverence, and utters in just one phrase, the cry of a tortured human soul.

Lord, help me! ''Matthew 15:25''

She still doesn`t understand what all is going on. He hasn`t acted like she thought He would. But still she calls him Lord. The disciples are watching this woman on the ground. And now the tension starts to build real strong, just as Jesus knew it would. Their belief system tells them this woman is to be shunned, rejected, ignored, sent away. And they themselves would say just the same thing Jesus said - and yet- something inside them is deeply moved. This is the cry of a desperate mother for a beloved daughter who is in physical and spiritual agony, and something inside them - could God be bigger than they think? Could God be better than they think? - but they don`t get it yet.

-- Jesus speaks again. he`s been speaking to His disciples, and the text doesn`t say anything about His turning around. So it helps to get the dynamic of the story as you picture Him saying this next line, as I think probably He did, still looking at the disciples, still watching their faces, Jesus says,

It is not right to take the children`s bread and toss it to their dogs. ''Matthew 15:26''

Now, the meaning of this would have been crystal clear to everybody. Who in this little saying, who do the children stand for? Israelites. And who does the dog stand for? Gentiles. For this woman. And most of us in this room, by the way. Dogs in the Middle East generally were not for the most part considered pets, the way we do. They were mostly scavengers in order to live and were considered fairly unclean. So Jesus now is forcing His disciples to face themselves. He is saying to them, "You want me to get rid of this woman? You want me to limit my ministry only to Israel? You want me to just keep it us versus them? Okday, I`ll do what you ask. Just watch her. Just listen to her daughter scream. Just see her in agony. Just look at her kneeling on the ground." And he gies voice to their beliefs. because again He does not do what they tell Him to do. There`s a deliberate contrast between the words that Jesus is saying and what He`s actually going to do in this story. And Matthew wants us to wrestle with this. It is one thing to have contempt for somebody else behind their back. It is another thing to have all that ugliness, of my thoughts and my feelings, expressed out loud in the presence of a real human being. We all know about the difference. Will any of them speak up for this woman? Will any of them say, no, we ought to love her? Not yet. Their time is coming, but not yet. Jesus makes this statement in verse 26. He uses real harsh language about dogs to force the disciples to face themselves.

-- At the same time, Ken Bailey notes, He softens His language slightly for the woman. In Greek there are two primary words that can be used to describe a dog. Jesus uses the diminuitive form of the word for a little doggie - kunarion - is the word in Greek. This is not an attack dog that Jesus is talking about here. It`s a little doggette. He literally puts a little attachment to the end of the word like "ette." He uses the word for the disciples` sake. "You want me to treat all Gentiles like dogs? Here`s what it looks like."

-- Now this is the hardest part of her test. Will she run away? Because she could. She could decide it`s not worth the effort, this strange tug of war. Give up. And her trust in Jesus is so profoundly deep that she`ll keep going. And her response is unbelievable.

Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master`s table. ''Matthew 15:27''

And in this response she picks up on the diminutive form of the word "dogs" that Jesus used. She uses the same word, and then she adds the same ending, that same diminutive form, to the word crumbs, deliberately to parallel that - literally, it would be like "even the doggettes get the crumbettes from their master`s table." She comes back at Jesus with grace and grit and even wit. There`s an element of something like playfulness here, as if she`s sparring with Jesus. She just won`t give up. And the disciples are watching this, and their jaws hit the floor. They have never in their lives seen anyone show such confidence with Jesus. They have never seen such a demonstration of bold, risk-taking love. Watching this woman when she showed up, they knew they were watching their inferior - their spiritual, moral inferior. It turns out she is their master in every respect. She is relating to Jesus on a level of understanding and humility and trust and boldness that puts them to shame.

-- And then they look at Jesus. Then everybody looks at Jesus. And finally Jesus turns to face this woman, and now the mask is off. And if for a moment he concealed the great goodness of His heart, He had a purpose, but now that purpose is fulfilled. Now the test is over. Now the time has come for the grades to be given out.

Oh, woman, great is your faith! ''Matthew 15:28''

He didn`t use that phrase to describe his disciples.

-- In an earlier passage in the gospel of Matthew, in the eighth chapter, they flunk a storm test. They get all panicky and worried and everything and some of you know how Jesus describes them.

Oh, you of little faith! ''Matthew 8:26''

It turns out that they - who thought they were the top of the ladder - they`re in the pigeons. She`s an eagle. And then she goes away and we never see her again.

-- How come this strange tug of war? I don`t know exactly. I don`t know why sometimes we struggle. I do think that as long as that woman lived, she remembered till the day she went to her grave the day that Jesus looked her in the eye and said "Wow! Woman! You have great faith!" I think He knew she was an eagle. And I think there was something going on in that process that named and developed enormous strength of soul in that woman. I don`t understand it all, but I think there was something going on. She was an eagle. But part of the good news of this story is that Jesus is very patient with the pigeon group. He kept working with the pigeons.

-- And many years later, after His death and resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit, Peter gets it one day. This is a long time later, and Peter is praying to God, and he gets this vision to go to the home of the Roman soldier, a Gentile named Cornelius. And God finally breaks through Peter`s hardness of heart and all those prejudices and all that junk that divides up the world, that always had divided up the world till Jesus started this movement. And Peter gets is. And Peter says,

Now at last! Now, at last I see. God plays no favorites. It makes no difference who you are, where you`re from. The message he sent to Israel, that through Jesus Christ everything is being put together again. That`s the Gospel. That`s the good news. ''Acts 10:34-36''

Up there is coming down here. Well, He`s doing it everywhere among everyone. I finally get it. And Peter remembers that day when Jesus stood there with that woman. Now at last I see what He was teaching me.

By: John Ortberg
Category: Jesus Befriending and Promoting the Lowly
Comment Helpful? Favorite Violation
Does Jesus believe lowly people are valuable? How valuable?
sure!lowly people are valuable.He came and died for them ^_^

By: camilla -
Category: Jesus Befriending and Promoting the Lowly
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Does Jesus believe lowly people are valuable? How valuable?
yes. lowly people is the most honourable.

Category: Jesus Befriending and Promoting the Lowly
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Does Jesus believe lowly people are valuable? How valuable?
I believe were are a great value to our HEAVENLY FATHER, FOR HE CLEARLY tells us in his prescious words in the Bible, he came to us and died for us so that we can be with him in heaven..

By: Delores Johnson
Category: Jesus Befriending and Promoting the Lowly
Comment Helpful? Favorite Violation
Does Jesus believe lowly people are valuable? How valuable?
Yes, sure.He love everyone the same level, because men is his creature. But for lowly people He love the best, because before Jesus come men living in their sin with other gods which their birth not from low people but from royal family causes low people cannot reach them, and their salvation is not for spiritual devotion but treasure, money, ...especially they stay so faraway from men

By: DOUMA Troeung
Category: Jesus Befriending and Promoting the Lowly
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Outside culture boundary marks
Jesus acted outside the cultural boundary marks for the community he lived in because he dined and spent time with sinners, beggars, tax collectors and so forth. This is counter culural then and now. It can bring out stronger emotions than people blaspheming or doing something against our religion. Culture is stonger than religion I`ve heard.

By: Chris Peacock
Category: Jesus Befriending and Promoting the Lowly
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Jesus Befriending and Promoting the Lowly
Jesus had no favortism He treated everyone the same, help anyone that ask Him. He always took time for those that were outcast those that were consitered to be on the bottom because He said the poor would always be with us.


By: Min. vanessa smith
Category: Jesus Befriending and Promoting the Lowly
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Now all the tax-gatherers and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. And both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." ( Luke 15:1-2)

Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." ( Matthew 19:13-14)

He called the twelve and said to them, "If any one wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." And taking a child , He stood him in the midst of them; and taking him in His arms, He said to them, "Whoever receives one child like this in My name is receiving Me; and whoever receives Me is not receiving Me, but Him who sent Me." ( Mark 9:35-37)

And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on." ( Mark 12:41-44)

There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman therefore said to Him, ‘How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) ( John 4:7-9)

And it came about when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, that they were watching Him closely…And he went on to say to the one who had invited Him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and repayment come to you. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." ( Luke :-1-:1)

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