In Search of the Outcast
Do you ever feel like you don’t belong? Perhaps, for whatever reason, you feel like an outcast from society and you’re on the outside looking in. Maybe you’re not part of the popular in-crowd and it feels like everyone else is included except for you. Maybe you feel that you are being judged by the color of your skin; the cloths that you wear, the political views you have or the church you attend. I believe at one time or another, everyone has felt like they were left behind or felt like an outcast.
If you are experiencing anything like that take heart, because Jesus in search of you. Jesus’ entire mission on earth was to come and find the lost and the outcasts and to show them they are loved. We read in the scriptures there are many groups of outcasts that Jesus went on to be friends with.
The Gospels show a special emphasis on Jesus as friend of the outcasts. We see Jesus keeping company with lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes, and other sinners, or others who had found themselves in their situation through no fault of their own. They also include the poor, the lame and afflicted, and widows who had lost their social standing. All of these were seen as failures or rejects by society and not worthy of inclusion or attention. These are the people Jesus was sent to save. These were his friends and those that could experience his mercy and love.
Some of the greatest miracle stories in the bible show Jesus ministering to another group of outcasts called the Samaritans. One great story happens in the story of “Woman at the Well” in John’s gospel. It states very clearly in the Gospel writing that Jew’s had no place for Samaritans and often judged them unclean. Yet in this miracle story, Jesus has a simple request, “Woman give me a drink”. Through that simple request, this woman encounters someone who knows everything about her and still never cast judgement. Instead, Jesus shows nothing but mercy and love. He seeks her out and reveals a love so strong that she and many others come to call Jesus a friend and begin to believe.
When we founded Praise and Worship Center, we wanted to make sure we modeled what Jesus did. We have only one request, and that is ALL ARE WELCOME HERE. We gather in our worship with one thing in common, and that is at one point we are all outcasts. We are a group of sinners with a deep desire to come and experience the love of God. The good news is that today and always, Jesus is seeking you and I out. He is the friend of sinners and has invited all of us to come to the table of his love.
Next time you are feeling down or thinking you are, and outcast please know that Jesus is seeking you out and inviting you to come and experience his amazing love. So as one of the songs we sing says; “Come meet this motley crew of misfits, these liars, and these thieves. There is no one every unwelcome here. Come to the table of the Lord.” (Come to the Table by Ben Glover).