I think that every one of us at one point or another has felt like we were an outsider. We’ve all felt like we didn’t belong. Whether it was true or not, we’ve all had those feelings, and nobody likes that. Nobody likes to feel out of place, or unwanted.
If you look at the Bible, that’s why Jesus came! Because of the sin in our lives, we were separate from God. We had alienated ourselves, making ourselves outsiders, we couldn’t go near God. So Jesus came and He died on the cross to make the payment that was needed for our sin, so that we could have that relationship with Him. So that we could enter into that fellowship with our Creator.
The more that you look at the Gospels, the more you will see that Jesus came for everyone, but specifically the outsiders. There was a religious “in crowd” made up of Pharisees, and teachers, and scribes, but Jesus didn’t pay too much attention to them. His harshest words were in their direction.
More often than not, we see Jesus with the people who were social outcasts for whatever reason. He hung out with tax collectors, and prostitutes. Jesus made a point to reach the outsiders.
One of my favorite stories is in Mark 1:40-45. A leprous man approaches Jesus, and falls at His feet crying out, “If You will, You can make me clean.” In that day, leprousy would make you a total outcast. You were forbidden to come too close to people, and if you broke that barrier, they would begin to throw rocks at you. It was impossible to be more of a social outcast.
This man runs up to Jesus, and falls in front of Him. Everyone is waiting to see what Jesus will do. Will He spit on him? Will He throw a rock at him? Will He even notice this lowly, disfigured outsider?
Verse 41 says “Moved with pity, He stretched out His hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.”
Jesus doesn’t ignore this guy. Jesus doesn’t insult this man, or throw a rock at him. Jesus TOUCHES him. Just think about that for a moment. Imagine the reaction of the crowd. They might have even been holding their rocks, waiting for Jesus to give them permission to throw them at him. But instead, He touches this man.
Jesus did the last thing that they expected, but exactly what this man needed. Jesus wasn’t worried about the crowd’s reaction. He saw the need of this man, and He reached out and touched him.
Jesus broke the awkwardness for this guy. Instead of leaving feeling out of place, he left healed, with a part in what God was doing. Now he belongs.
God wants to do the same thing in your life. That’s why when Jesus died on the cross, the veil to the Holy of Holies was ripped in two from top to bottom. There is nothing keeping us from access to God. The sin that blocked us from Him has now been paid for.
In Jesus, you belong. In Jesus, you have purpose. In Jesus, you’re no longer an outsider, but a child of the King of Kings.
Are you living on the outside? God loves you so much that you can’t even comprehend it. So much that He willingly sent His Son Jesus to die in your place. Jesus died in your place so that you could have unrestricted access to God. Take hold of that! Enter into that fellowship, that community with God.
Maybe you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “That’s nice and all, but I’m not on the outside…. I have an awesome relationship with Jesus.”
If that’s the case for you, then I offer you the same challenge that convicts me today. Are you reflecting Jesus in the way you treat people? Jesus reached out to the outsiders, He touched the untouchables.
Are you following the example that He set for His church, or are you following the example of the Pharisees, who were ready to throw rocks at someone who needed a touch from Jesus?