Eating with Sinners

Jesus’ ministry was summed up by the Pharisees in this way (Luke 15:1-2 also Matt 11:19; Luke 7:34).

This man receives sinners and eats with them

Having assessed Jesus’ approach to ministry, the Pharisees also questioned it. Why does Jesus “eat with sinners” (Mark 2:16 NET)?

When the experts in the law and the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?

As we look back on Jesus’ ministry mission statement and how he dealt with sinners we can end up with a lot of questions too. Who should I eat and hang out with? Where should I hang out with them? What should I tell them about sin? What expectations should be placed on the sinners for there to be a continued close relationship? How long should I hang out with them if they keep sinning? How should we handle sinners in the church?  These are all good questions. And ones that are being hotly debated.

The Last Supper (Da Vinci)Here is how Jesus defended His “eat with sinners” approach to ministry (Mark 2:17 NET):

Continue reading

Joseph: An example of Faith at the Cross of Jesus

A sample of lessons that will be taught on an upcoming trip to Liberia to teach at a Pastor’s Conference with CrossWay

It is Friday around 3pm and Jesus is pronounced dead. The long awaited Messiah who would regather the Jews and restore Israel is hanging on a cross. Didn’t He say He was the King of the Jews? Didn’t He say the kingdom was at hand? Where is the kingdom? How can a dead King reign?

When all of Jesus followers had denied and deserted Him (Mark 14:50, 14:66-72; Matt 26:55-56), and even the women who supported Him were at a distance (Mark 15:40-41;Luke 23:49), an unexpected person comes forward to insure Jesus’ body is properly handled. Continue reading

Faith and Signs a lesson from the Cross of Jesus

Dawkins at the University of Texas at Austin

What is faith? Many define faith as “blind trust” or irrational beliefs:

[Faith] means blind trust, in the absence of evidence, even in the teeth of evidence. … The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry. Blind faith can justify anything. (Dawkins, the Selfish Gene, 198)

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence (Dawkins)

Is faith really blind? Continue reading