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10.06.2010 / D.O.

I’m not friends with Jesus’ friends…

Just two nights ago I read one of the most challenging blog posts I’ve read in years. It was written by a woman who is dear to my heart, and who I affectionately refer to as my “college mom”. Her name is Heather and she recently moved — with her husband and four kids — to Haiti. Several years ago I played a pretty big role (I’d like to think) in her starting a blog, and now she uses it to write things that make me cry.

I don’t think my attempts to summarize her post would do it justice, but she writes about, among other things, how we as Christians only like to deal with the truths that we find to be easy. The kinds that don’t inconvenience us much, if at all. So when the Bible says things about pure, undefiled religion being the kind that looks after widows and orphans in their distress (James 1:27), we’re usually pretty good at ignoring those and sticking to easier realities like the fact that we, as believers, shouldn’t murder. (Check!)

All I knew to do the other night after reading her post was pray myself to sleep, which I did. The following morning, the Lord was still hammering me with the weight of my own selfishness and as I sat to spend time reading the Bible I thought I’d research who it was that Jesus actually spent time with. I mean, I had a pretty good idea, but I thought it’d be beneficial to make a list. I love lists.

I opened up to the first gospel and just started making a chart with somewhat arbitrary headings: Who did Jesus hang out with? How many times did he do it? What verses talk about it in case people don’t believe my results?

As far as the Book of Matthew is concerned, Jesus hung out with his disciples the most (28 times), followed closely by “large crowds” and sick people (21 times each). It is worth noting that many of the Crowd and Sick tally marks come from the same passages: people followed Jesus all over the place, and he continually healed the sick among them. He also spent considerable time with religious people (16, as it were), though those times weren’t all that enjoyable for the people whose company Jesus was keeping. He didn’t have a lot of particularly nice things to say to them.

I’d never read through Matthew with the sole purpose of seeing with whom Jesus spent time, and it was remarkably eye-opening to see how often Jesus was hanging out with people. He was hardly ever alone. Sometime he really wanted to be alone, but people kept following him, and as opposed to being mad (like I would be, to put it mildly)… he showed compassion.

So what do my “findings” on who Jesus hung out with show me?

That I need to start discipling some younger brothers? Probably.

That I should start healing people so crowds will follow me and I’ll have more influence? I’m certainly not opposed to it, and I fully believe it to be a possibility (the healing part… not sure about the crowds). It might help if I actually knew sick/hurting people…

That I spend way more time by myself, doing my own thing, than Jesus did? No question. He probably wouldn’t have sat down long enough to write this post.

That I hang out with, and am friends with, more rich people than Jesus was, and conversely hang out with and befriend far fewer “poor” folks? Absolutely.

While none of this may apply to you, or be beneficial to you in any way, it seems to be doing a pretty good number on me, and in the hopes that I’m not alone in that, I wrote this post and shared my results. I would really challenge you to read my friend Heather’s post, and encourage you to come back here and leave comments with your thoughts. I’d love to dialog about these things.

We’re having these discussions in our living room. I’d very much enjoy it if you to joined electronically.

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3 Comments

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  1. Anissa / Oct 6 2010 3:31 pm

    Ouch. I just moved into an apartment complex where there are a lot of hurting and sick people (I can hear it in the yelling and see it in the eyes of people when I walk to get the mail) and I think I keep patting myself on the back that I moved out of my really nice, comfortable house into this area, like I did something cool, when really I still go INSIDE and shut my door and haven’t really gotten the courage to invite some of the people into my life. ugh. Thanks for sharing your thoughts…Jesus is using them to call me out.

  2. jessandnik / Nov 3 2010 1:29 pm

    No way bro- I am preaching about this tonight! That is crazy. I have been really convicted about this lately too. It is crazy how quick we are to follow our own religion and not Jesus

  3. peter / Nov 4 2010 8:24 am

    There is a microcosm that I see here in Dallas that I think very much applies to what you guys are feeling. I have a friend who spends more time at mosques, crying out to Jesus for the salvation of their souls and laboring tirelessly in the slums and most unlovely places in Dallas. He is my hero. He tells me that he feels more at home among the lost people and finds it easier to disciple them as they are clean slates so to speak. The trouble he faces though is feeling alone a lot of the time and wondering why there are not more people doing what he is doing. It can discourage him and local churches often don’t understand why he is not necessarily under a “covering” though he has a formal “ministry” of his own for 10 years now.

    I think this call to the unlovely is deep in the heart of Jesus and those who are truly seeking Him will be compelled by love to reach out to the “least of these.” But I don’t think the Church is going to wake up unless they have someone stand in their midst and show them the way. People like Heather and you guys and my friend are being established as voices to the Church to call them to action but to lead and pastor and disciple them into freedom. Fear of ministering in dangerous places and fear of seeing unimaginable pain and suffering is a prison that much of the Church is bound to. Those who break free must be willing to “set the captives” free and not only call to action, but take them by the hand and lead them to freedom.

    You guys are my heroes too and I am praying for you as often as the LORD reminds me that you are up there….

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