The leaves are down from many of the trees around my house now. Some maples and elms still tenaciously hold onto their clothing, but, before long, these too will succumb to the perennial shedding that winter brings. This reminds me of a truth heard in our church sermon this morning: the rain falls, the flood comes, the wind blows and slams against the good and the bad equally. No matter who we are, the seasons come and go, the sun rises and sets, the world turns on its axis…all the same whoever we are.
We also are all sinners, meaning that, no matter who we are, our nature is counter to the perfect goodness of God. He is holy – a concept that even I have trouble understanding. But God gave us a way to bring us back into a relationship with Him through the life and sacrificial death of Jesus. Jesus wants to show all people how God loves them. All people. Not just the good people who already try to know God, but even the people who have no idea that God exists or loves them. Jesus went to all people. It didn’t matter what race, gender, what they had done, or what they were doing.
The woman of Samaria had two things against her knowing God’s love in the society of Jesus’s day. She was the wrong race AND the wrong gender. But Jesus chose to travel through Samaria and encounter her where she lived. Jews went around that region, totally avoiding a group of people who they believed were outcasts and not worthy of God’s love; the Bible even says that Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. This person was also a woman and more thought of as property. Jesus treated her with respect and love, and as a result, many OF Samaria believed Jesus’s words of salvation.
Jesus treated the woman caught in adultery in a similar loving manner, asking for those without sin to throw the first stone. All walked away and Jesus led her to a relationship with the loving Father.
Zacchaeus was a tax collector. He was a traitor among his own people. Jesus called to him specifically to show him God’s love, and the man’s relationship with God was restored.
Jesus was truthful and loving to all of the above people.
I want to see people as Jesus sees them – as all deserving of God’s love. I want to shed prejudices, conscious and unconscious biases. Jesus didn’t have them - He died for ALL people. He encounters each of us right where we are, still with our sins, our prejudices and our biases. He loves me in spite of these things. He loves you, wherever you are and whatever you've done.
Just as the rain may fall on the just and the unjust, God's love and salvation is offered to the good and bad. It is up to us to accept what He has offered. We don't need to get cleaned up first. Like the Samaritan woman at the well, the adulterous woman and the traitorous tax collector, we aren't judged by Jesus when we meet Him. As we take His hand and experience God's love and forgiveness through Jesus, we are changed and become who God meant us to be - His beloved children.
Dr. Beth Lambert is a Pediatrician and Medical Director in Pennsylvania. JP Knights is the first film from her books.
Kevin & Lynn McAfee along with Jim and Rachel Gromer met to begin the script writing process for JP KNIGHTS the movie. Thanks for praying for the entire team!
Dr. McAfee and the team of GRP with Stephanie Musser met with city fathers in Pennsylvania at the Holiday Inn to discuss strategies for shooting in Johnstown.