The Outsiders Come Streaming In
Jesus said, “I’ve yet to come across this kind of simple trust in Israel, the very people who are supposed to know all about God and how he works. This man is the vanguard of many outsiders who will soon be coming from all directions—streaming in from the east, pouring in from the west, sitting down at God’s kingdom banquet alongside Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then those who grew up ‘in the faith’ but had no faith will find themselves out in the cold, outsiders to grace and wondering what happened.
- Matthew 8:10-12 The Message
In this passage, Jesus is speaking about the captain of a Roman military unit who has come to Jesus to ask for healing of a servant in his house. Jesus is so impressed with the man's simple, heartfelt faith that he makes the statement above. Notice that Jesus doesn't comment on how his morality or his politics need to change to be part of God's family. Notice that Jesus doesn't make him pray a certain way or read the Bible a certain way. Jesus seemed quite content to gladly welcome this 'outsider' into the family of God.
Then, Jesus comments on how it's not just this one outsider who is coming in, but rather that this guy is like a dam-break, and a flood of outsiders are going to be pouring into God's family and that it's going to boggle the mind of those who consider themselves insiders.
So do you consider yourself an outsider or an insider when it comes to matters of faith? What do you think makes you one or the other? What do you sense that Jesus might be saying to you about all of this?