Summary: jesus opened up to everybody and so should we
Mark 7:24-37 Friendship Baptist Church 9-10-00
Be Open to the Crumb Snatchers
Whether we want to admit it or not, we all want to be included. We want to be where the happenings are. We want people to call us and let us know what’s going on. Even if we can’t make it, just the fact somebody call me and let me know, is good enough. We don’t like to be on the outside looking in. We all want to be at the party. We want to be a part of the happenings and going ons.
However, sometimes we are not invited the party. We don’t make the cut. We are not in the “in crowd”, not on the A list. Maybe it’s because we don’t have the certain status or job, or know the right people. Maybe we don’t have the education or the wherewith all to get a RSVP invitation. Maybe we don’t attend the right social functions or in the right club. Maybe we don’t live in the right neighborhood or subdivision. Maybe it’s then that we are left out of the party.
In a country drunk off the wine of the “greatest prosperity since WWII, don’t you know that there are still a lot of people who are left out of the party? Single mothers who are trying and struggling to make ends meet, working two and sometimes three jobs, leaving them without the quality time to spend with their children, are left out of the party. Children whose faces we don’t see or neglect to see who go hungry night after night, are left out of the party. Abuse women; with no place to go and nowhere to turn are left out of the party. Men who have their manhood snatch away by governmental institutions, which are supposed to be in the business of rehabilitating people for society, are left out of the party.
The senior citizen who has to decide whether to fill their prescriptions or pay the light bill this month are left out of the party. The people who are tuck neatly away in a nursing home and the family and church members have thrown away the key to their hearts are left out of the party. People trapped in a neighborhood overrun by crime, filth, and decay are left out of the party. Children having to go to dysfuncting schools where the powers that be seem not to care, are left out of the party.
But I came to remind somebody, that God has a party! God’s giving a big banquet and we are all invited. This is a place where everybody’s having a good time. If you ever felt like you have been locked out, kicked out, thrown out, or knocked out, I got some good news for you! The God we serve, will pick you up, turn you around, and place your feet on solid ground.
The God we serve, is no respecter of persons. The God we serve, wants all people to be saved and come into the knowledge of truth. The God we serve, has promised us that we will never go hungry or thirsty. The God we serve, has all power. God will bring us out. God will bring us through. God will make a way somehow. By the power of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, we have access to God and we are all welcome to come and join the party. I don’t know about you, but I am glad that I am invited to the party where Jesus is the host!
But what happens when you feel that you are not invited to Christ’s banquet? What if you feel as if you are not qualified? What happens when you are left out the party? What happens when you feel unworthy, dirty, and unclean? What happens when you are systematically left out of the party?
This is what we have here in our text. Two different situations, one involving a woman, and the other involving a group of people. In both situations the people needed something, but due to the Jewish ecclesiology or church doctrine and beliefs, they weren’t really invited to the party.
For you see, Jesus had entered Gentile country. After preaching a serious discourse of what’s the meaning of clean and unclean, after telling the religious leaders of his day that what goes into a person doesn’t make the person unclean, but what comes out make that person unclean, Jesus now heads for “unclean” Gentile country. I can imagine the religious leaders saying, “Why is he going there? What is he doing in Gentile country? Doesn’t he know that these people are unclean?” Even his disciples had to be wondering, “Jesus, why are we here? What are you doing going here? Shouldn’t we be preaching to our own people? Why are we here far away from home?”