Luke 15:1 paints for us an interesting picture of the appeal of Jesus. It says…
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.
Here’s a rabbi whose fame has gone before him and it is, at least in some cases, synonymous with that of a religious rebel. In fact, in the very next verse it says that the “Scribes and Pharisees” were gathered there too, but they were grumbling that Jesus was receiving and eating with such sinners… judgmental prigs. These men failed to realize that they were sinners as well, just with a different colored stripe down their backs.
The sin of these tax collectors and such was that of the overt type of law breaking, while the religious leaders hidden sin, which Jesus worked hard to expose, was that of legalism (law keeping in a twisted and self centered type of way). Yet, despite their obvious differences both strain of sinner was drawn to Jesus, and he goes on to teach them parables which expose the hindrances to God which exist in both of them.
What a difference 2000 years will make. The compassion, honesty and power of Christ was something that attracted the unrighteous community while it also peeked the interest and accusations of the self-righteous. My experience tells me that the church today does little to attract these types of people…I’m not even sure the church knows quite how to attract these types of people.
When the church fails to be authentically Christian it fails. Following Christ on the narrow road is the calling though the temptations of the flesh dog our steps. Christ was not without temptation, yet he overcame all the while leading us to walk as he walked and his path is clear enough for us to follow.
I desire in my lifetime to see the disciples of Christ imitate their master in such a way that sinners of all stripes will be drawn to her for the purpose of redemption. Let’s shake the “Stockholm Syndrome” that has bound us to this world and rise up to be as attractive as we’ve been called to be.