God is a fair judge, a God who is angered by injustice every day. (Psalm 7:11, GW)
This same verse is written in several Bible versions this way: God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day.
Why would God be indignant? Because we sin or because He sees injustice? Why was Jesus indignant? Because he saw sinners or injustice?
As I read the New Testament, Jesus gave compassion to sinners. In fact, he was vilified for walking with us, meeting with us, teaching us, forgiving us and breaking bread with us. Who vilified him? Religious leaders who wanted to apply religious law to judge and condemn those they believed were inferior to themselves.
During the three years of his missional life, Jesus stayed indignant toward the religious elite for provoking and sanctioning injustice toward the very people they were supposed to serve. Jesus continued to warn religious leaders that the way they spoke and acted kept people away from God when they were supposed to bring them closer.
(to the Pharisees) You’ve made your choice. Your ambition is to look good in front of other people, not God. But God sees through to your hearts. He values things differently from you. The goals you and your peers are reaching for God detests. (Luke 16:15 The Voice)
We are the ones who point fingers, who gossip, who accuse, who throw stones. We are the ones who desire to exclude whole groups of people because we decide, based on dogma, doctrine, and out-of-context Scripture they do not belong in the Shepherd’s fold.
But the Father has other ideas. He sent the Son to save everyone. It is the Father who told the Son to remind us to love our neighbors. Have we become so uncomfortable with this command that instead, we now actively prevent people from being our neighbors?
Jesus never hesitated to do the Father’s will. He confronted injustice just as he confronted the religious leaders. Yet he longed for them to walk into the Father’s arms; they were represented by the elder brother in the Parable of the Lost Son (the Prodigal Son). The father told the elder brother he possessed everything the father owned, but the elder brother could not see through his anger at the mercy the father bestowed on the younger brother.
It was the FATHER’S idea for Jesus to look demon-possessed people straight in the eye, touch lepers, heal a heathen Roman soldier’s servant, forgive the adulterous woman, engage in conversation with the Samaritan divorcé, embrace greedy Zacchaeus, hang out with the worst of His culture, and pick low-life tax collectors and a traitor to be His closest friends. Beloved, He’s the prodigal’s Father who throws a party when religious people demand retribution. (Mel Wild, Sonshift1)
Instead of demanding retribution or exclusion of an entire group of people, why not reexamine Jesus’ words about the Father’s will: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17)
We are excellent at remembering the first verse Jesus said to Nicodemus that night, but tend to have amnesia when it comes to the second verse. For if God did not send Jesus to judge the world, who are we to judge? For when we judge, we prevent someone an entire lifetime of restoration. We selfishly stand in the way of an entire people reaching the outstretched arms of the Father’s embrace.
Remember, this was Israel’s mistake. For they were to take God’s light and spread it to all nations: He says, “It is too small a thing You should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make You as a light for the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6) But they did not do this, so Jesus became the missionary, God’s Servant who took this upon Himself.
And Jesus placed this task upon us, giving us his mission of reconciliation to carry on:
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view. So if anyone is in Christ, you are a new creation: old ideas have passed away; see everything from a new point of view! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. (2 Corinthians 5:16-19)
Are we ready yet to let go of our old ideas and see through God’s point of view?
1©2015 Mel Wild, Sonshift, pp. 98-99