ODJ: exclusively inclusive

December 3, 2013 

READ: John 2:1-11 

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

Was Jesus a nice guy? Consider this: He made some shockingly exclusive claims about Himself and nice guys just don’t do that. When Peter told Him, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” Jesus blessed him (Matthew 16:16-17). To a Samaritan woman, Jesus plainly declared, “I AM the Messiah!” (John 4:26). And He announced to His followers, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (14:6).

But when it came to personal relationships, Jesus was equally shocking in a very different way. No one was more inclusive. He welcomed everyone—rich or poor, good or bad, Jewish or Gentile.

Jesus’ enemies accused Him of being a drunk and a glutton, apparently because He went to a lot of parties (Matthew 11:19). In John 2 we read that Jesus was at a wedding feast when the party libations ran dry prematurely. Jesus’ mother insisted that He do something. He did. The party continued, but this time with the best of wines, the result of Jesus’ first recorded miracle (vv.1-11).

In John 3 Jesus met at night with Nicodemus, an elite religious leader. And while Christ had some pointed words for him, He didn’t shun the man but engaged in a lengthy conversation that eventually won him over (see also 7:50-51; 19:38-40).

In John 4 Jesus talked to a disreputable woman with no regard for what others might think (vv.4-30). Suffice it to say, the respectable Nicodemus wouldn’t have been seen with that woman.

Jesus didn’t care what people thought. His motive for asking for water was to benefit His hearers. “He doesn’t want anyone to be destroyed,” wrote His close friend Peter, “but wants everyone to repent” (2 Peter 3:9). —Tim Gustafson

Read Acts 11:1-18 and note why Peter was being criticised by the Jewish believers. What did he reveal to them from God?  
What class or racial distinctions are you prone to draw in your life? How can you learn to better reflect Jesus’ love for all people?