“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.” Matthew 11:19 (NKJV)
Jesus took a lot of heat from the “religious right” for the way that He lived and did ministry. He moved in such great freedom, entering towns and talking to people they did not think He should be seen associating with, healing on the Sabbath, and eating and drinking to the point of being accused of being a glutton and a wino. He continually responded to who and what came into His path, whether it was to touch someone in a very personal way, share a meal with the locals, or to speak radically to those who were so bound up by a system of religious law, that they could not see that it was the people that were important to God.
But the scripture says, “wisdom is justified by her children.” The fruit of Jesus’ ministry spoke for itself. People like the woman caught in adultery experienced unconditional love, mercy, and forgiveness (John 8:3). Many were healed and even raised from the dead. There were those who felt seen and valued over and over again, as Jesus often sat down to just enjoy a meal with the ones that were considered to be the marginalized and untouchables of His time. His free and all-inclusive style of ministry communicated the love and welcome to all that is the heart of the Kingdom of God.
What if we followed Jesus’ example of taking His kind of ministry out of the walls of the church and into the street? What if we were willing to talk to the strangers, pray with those who have a need, or look society’s rejected and lonely in the eye and say by our actions, “I see and value you?” How about having your neighbours over for dinner to experience God’s goodness through you? It is in the reaching out to others that we demonstrate the hope that is in Jesus, and through that we ourselves will come into greater levels of joy and freedom, and the Kingdom of God is expanded.
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen, to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6 (NKJV)