February 01, 2018

Stooping to Our Level

Luke 6:17-19

He went down with them and stood on a level place.

—  Luke 6:17

Luke recounts many stories of Jesus’ teaching and healing ministry. Though it was clear Jesus didn’t want to be a celebrity, his reputation grew by leaps and bounds. People flocked to Jesus from all over; they wanted to hear what he had to say.

Luke wanted us to know that Jesus came for people of all kinds who struggled with just trying to make life work. They were from backwater parts of Judea where people kept looking for the Messiah to show up. Some journeyed from the ancient Gentile cities of Tyre and Sidon. Others came from Jerusalem, the religious center of the Jews.

Why would Luke include this information? To show that God wanted to mingle with all kinds of people, including the ones Israel’s leaders would rather forget—people outside their borders and beneath them in class. The religious teachers of Jesus’ day preached a theology of exclusion. They thought the rabble from remote villages and the outsiders from Tyre and Sidon weren’t worthy of the kingdom of God.

But Jesus broke ranks by putting everyone on the same level. Jesus talked about God’s openness to receive all believers as citizens of his kingdom. Jesus showed that God stooped down and came to their level. Never before had they experienced such radical grace.

That’s where I am—and you too. Can you believe?

Jesus, you came to seek out sinners like me. Help me embrace your power that brings the good news of your kingdom. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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