In taking that first step of trying to believe you’ve got to realize something. Nowadays many Christians seem to imply that you have to clean up your act before you go to a church or are considered worthy. Even “christians” who are sociologically part of the church have a connection but don’t really know who Jesus is. Jesus was approachable and reached out to the outcast and marginalized but never said, “Stay there – you’ll be fine.” He challenged them to change. Let me give you a few examples:
Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)
When Jesus was travelling through Jericho, a man named Zacchaeus (who was a chief tax collector, and a Jew) wanted to catch a glimpse of him. However, he was not tall enough to be able to see over the crowd’s heads, so he climbed a tree in order to get a better view. When Jesus passed by, he called Zacchaeus down from the tree and told him that he was going to be a guest in his house. The people were surprised that Jesus wanted to visit the house of a tax collector, but it had a great effect on Zacchaeus himself – he promised to give half of his possessions to the poor, and to pay back four times what he owed to anyone whom he had cheated. Jesus concluded the incident by saying that salvation had come to Zacchaeus’ house that day. Jesus said that the Son of Man had come to seek and to save what was lost.
The Woman and Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:36-50)
When Jesus was eating a meal in Simon the Pharisee’s house, a woman (who had led a sinful life) burst into the house, wet Jesus’ feet with her tears then dried them with her hair. She then kissed his feet, and broke an alabaster flask of perfume over them. Simon was surprised; he felt that if Jesus really was a prophet then he should have known that the woman was a sinner, and wouldn’t have let her touch him. But Jesus told a parable about a man who was owed money by two different people – one owed him five hundred denarii, the other fifty. He forgave them both their debts. Jesus asked Simon which of the two debtors would love the money lender the most; Simon replied (correctly) that it was the one who had the bigger debt forgiven. Jesus said that because the woman had shown such great love and care towards him (in contrast to the care shown by Simon himself) that her many sins were forgiven. The other people questioned amongst themselves who Jesus could be, as only God could forgive sins; Jesus said to the woman that her faith had saved her.
Change occurred with he encounter with Jesus. Not apathy or indifference but change. Perhaps does not occur immediately but Jesus by his very existence calls for change. He said to Peter, who had displayed great faith, “Upon this ‘rock’ I will build my Church.” The Church continues to go through a metamorphosis over time but it is the place and people vested with the confidence of Jesus.
Get to know the people that Jesus wanted to know and,