What does it mean to be accepted? Sometimes you have to meet certain criteria to join different groups. That may be an age boundary; you may have to be at a certain level of something; sometimes it’s to do with gender; maybe even height (especially when it comes to fair ground rides). It’s understandable… for certain things. It would be silly to join a high level swimming club, if you can’t swim in the first place.
We continue this week to look at the promises of God. People used to think that the Kingdom was like a club with membership criteria, that only certain people were going to be accepted to be a part of that Kingdom, to be accepted by God. But Jesus taught us that actually everyone is welcome.
The verse we are looking at today comes from John 6:37
All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
Jesus not only told people that everyone was welcome but he also demonstrated it. There are so many examples throughout the Gospels where Jesus talks to and befriends those that others turned away from: Zacchaeus, the tax collector; Blind Bartimaeus; the Samaritan woman; the woman who had committed adultery; the lame man; the man possessed by demons; children; women. All of these people, and many more, were considered to be outcasts, not accepted by God. As they were considered to not be accepted by God, they were treated unfairly by society, and also by Religious leaders. But Jesus spoke to them, spent time with them, encouraged them.
Another great example is actually, Jesus’ disciples, the 12 men chosen by Jesus as his closest companions, friends, and followers. They were a mixture of all sorts, fishermen, tax collectors, zealots. They definitely were not scholars from the temple, religious leaders, but everyday people – like you and me.
Everyone is welcome to the Kingdom of God, but it does take something, one thing that we have to do. We have to accept the invitation to go. In the verse for the week it says “WHOEVER COMES TO ME I WILL NEVER DRIVE AWAY”. If we choose to go to Jesus, we will not be turned away, but we need to choose to go to him first. The Disciples were asked to follow him, and they accepted that invitation. The paralysed man was asked to stand up, take his mat and walk – and he did. Zaccheus was asked to give Jesus tea and he did.
We are all invited to be a part of God’s Kingdom. If the invitation is accepted an amazing journey awaits. The question is… are you going to accept?
Prayer: We thank you God that you welcome all of us to be a part of your Kingdom. Help us to be welcoming to those around us as well.
Challenge: Jesus spoke to those who other people ignored. How can you show God’s kingdom by being welcoming this week?