“Grace would be a poor host indeed to exclude anyone.” – Alan Cohen
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When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them.
Jesus had drawing power.
He could literally pack the house.
And it says that he preached the word to them.
That must have been some word!
So, what was Jesus saying that would be so enticing?
Was he promising the “10 Easy Steps to Wealth” or the “10 Easy Steps to Having a Successful Business”?
No, Jesus never spoke about being wealthy as a positive thing.
Not that it was a bad thing in and of itself, but Jesus did say that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24).
He also said “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
What Jesus was getting at is that if you have lots of stuff you can very easily get quite attached to that stuff and thereby miss seeing those in need.
What else did Jesus say?
He said “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9).
He said that loving God and your neighbor as yourself were the greatest commandments (Matthew 22:36-40).
And don’t forget that dreaded command to love your enemies (Matthew 5:44).
You have to admit, these statements are so counter-cultural and counter-intuitive.
Perhaps that, and the fact that Jesus must have been an impressive speaker with a good amount of charisma, all of that helped to draw crowds.
But most of all, Jesus reflected the unconditional love of God in the way he met and treated all the broken.
He didn’t reject any of them.
And don’t forget that all those people listening to Jesus were looking for hope.
They were under the brutal rule of the Roman empire.
Jesus let the people know they were not forgotten by God, but loved dearly.
Are we poor in spirit? Peacemakers? Are we loving God and our neighbor as ourselves?
What about our enemies?
Are we welcoming to all?
Each of us must consider Jesus’s teachings and whether they are reflected in on our words and actions.
This, my friend, is the path to the kingdom of God.
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Remember: God loves you!