Far Off, Man

Far Off, Man

I’m a Christian because Jesus calls everyone.  How many of you would like to join an exclusive club? You know, the kind where there’s a big fancy gate and a guard to keep out the riff raff, but when you pull up they recognize you instantly and quickly get the gate open for an important person like you.  Sounds pretty nice, huh? According to Bloomberg there are 1,700 new millionaires made every year in America, and there are over 1,800 billionaires in the world.  Not a bad club.  When my neighbor’s dog is barking at 5 am, it would be nice to have a little more elbow room.  There also seems to be something in humans that likes to be in and if we’re in then we like to keep others out.  What’s the point of a big fancy gate if not to tell those on the outside that you’re better than them?

While this is tempting, it’s not ultimately what is going to be for our good.  Like a good parent, God’s not so interested in what we want, but He’s very interested in what we need.   One thing that attracts me to Jesus is that His good news is for everyone.  It’s not just for the special few who are “in” it’s literally for anyone who will accept Him.  Within a generation of Jesus’ resurrection the good news of Jesus Christ and what’s He’s done had traveled to the outer edges of the known world, from India to Ireland.  It transcended national and cultural boundaries, socio-economic status, gender, and broke down nearly every barrier in its way.  Think of these words, they may sound normal today but imagine them being spoken two thousand years ago:

“For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:39.

In this verse, Peter is preaching not to the select few, but to a crowd so diverse that the Holy Spirit gave him the power to be heard in 16 languages! Some of those that heard him were quite far off! In Peter’s day, this kind of talk was crazy.  In his day, if you were going to preach you only bothered preaching to at least their equivalent of the middle class white guy.  You certainly didn’t preach to children, who were seen in the Greek world as inferior adults, and you didn’t preach to those who were “far away” both literally and metaphorically.

But that is the God that I serve.  He is described as “showing no partiality” Acts 10:34. He is also described as the shepherd who searched all night for the one wayward lamb that wandered away because He came to “seek and to save that which was lost”. Luke 19:10.  Sometimes we Christians treat our church as an exclusive club where we can get away from all those scary people out there.  That’s not how Jesus saw it.  He knows what we really need. He saw the church as the one who gave a drink to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, and the best seats to the poor.  I’m attracted to Jesus because in His family I am made a brother to the near, the far, the rich, the poor, the young, the old, the well, the sick, man and woman, and every nation under the sun. Maybe even hipsters and fuddy duddies.  His grace is sufficient even for bass players and drummers.  It’s a family I would never make for myself, but a family bonded together by Jesus Christ.

The good news is for you, your children and all who are far away! Let that soak in!  Let us not desire to be an exclusive club but a place where we die to ourselves and live for Christ. Let us drink of the Living Water and pass it to others, so that they will never thirst again. John 4:10.  Let us be in with the out crowd. I hope we open the gate because we don’t recognize you.   Will you repent and be baptized, believing in the name of Jesus? Are you thirsty? How far away are you?

%d bloggers like this: