Posted by: Jo | January 16, 2015

His All Embracing Grace

“From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.”

(John 1:16)

image This Sunday at church, I was watching the children running eagerly after their teachers to go to Sunday school and I began to remember the joy I always experienced as a Sunday school teacher. I used to regale my family with all the sweet and funny things children say and I suddenly thought of one dear little girl who was in my kindergarten class. She was always wearing her Sunday best, with frilly little dresses and shiny shoes often carrying an equally pretty purse and would earnestly sit at my feet, ready to hear the story, her eyes never leaving my face, always very well behaved. One particular morning we had a new boy join the group and he soon became quite a handful, deciding to tear around the room rather than sit still to listen to a story, climbing on chairs and generally disrupting the morning. My dear little girl was viewing all this with horror and when I was finally able to bring some sort of order, she leant forward to whisper to me, “None of my friends are boys!”. After we smile at her response to someone who was very different from her, we might catch ourselves thinking of how we view others who display behaviour that differs from ours or how tolerant are we of teenagers, seniors, and people of a different race or culture from ours. Are we selective when it comes to choosing with whom we will associate?

Last week I was writing about imitating Christ and having his attitude as our example.

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)

It is fascinating to check with whom Jesus chose to mix with and his attitude to an array of vastly different people. The list is long and all embracing. His grace was extended to a wide group of people and he chooses often to ignore any restrictive cultural barriers. This is particularly noticeable with his inter action with women, with perhaps the best known encounter with the woman at the well (John 4). imageHe allows the woman struggling with a bleeding problem to touch him. He chooses to make friends with Martha and Mary. He extends his gracious forgiveness and protection to a woman caught in adultery. He mourns with a widow who has lost her only son and gently restores him to life and back to her.

Nobody is excluded from his gracious blessing, much to the surprise of those full of their own importance as they watch him invite himself to dine with Zacchaeus a well-known despised tax collector;

“All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a sinner’” (Luke 19:7)

He refused to allow the dreaded disease, leprosy, to bar those who were inflicted, welcoming them into his presence. Even little children who the disciples thought should not disturb the Teacher, were allowed to come close and receive his blessing. His friends ranged from important members of the Jewish ruling council, Nicodemus, to the everyday working class, the local fisherman.

We have so much to learn from Jesus’ attitude to those he came in contact with and to perhaps look closely at who we willingly and lovingly welcome into our own lives, not forcing our values, not condemning actions, accepting differences, making allowances.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)

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Responses

  1. Your words of reminding us about our own behavior ,rings a bell. We need to question our own acceptance of those we meet daily! Thanks Jo !

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  2. Thanks Jo once again. Jo Mercer’s comment as usual is very apt, but Jesus didn’t just accept the differences, he showed a better way. Maybe we’re not really doing that? God bless, Mary

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  3. What timely comments, Jo! Not forcing our values, accepting differences – while staying true to our own beliefs.

    Like


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