They tried to understand him, but they couldn’t. Sometimes they found him at the synagogue teaching and conversing with scholars of his day. But at other times, he hung with the “marginal” crowd that others would never want to be seen with.
But why was he doing this? It’s understandable when people reach out for some benefit they would receive; even if that benefit is received indirectly. Some see some financial benefit by connecting with people on the margins. Others look for popularity among the general public as they are viewed as “compassionate” toward the suffering.
For Jesus, none of these benefits caught his attention. He truly responded from a selfless goal as his mission was to die for these people. I suppose there is no deeper level of selflessness than to die for others.
The religious leaders of his day experienced their greatest confusion ever. They were truly intrigued with their discussions with this unique rabbi. He captivated them as he shared his wisdom. But since he connected with people of ill repute, their own reputation was endangered. There was nothing they could do but to distance themselves from him.
But Jesus would not flinch from his target. They attacked, argued, and threatened him, but he continued in his task of loving and reaching out to the unwanted of his day. The officials viewed his work as rebellious and unacceptable, but that would not move him – he remained determined. Throughout his life, this was his reputation.
Then in death, his legacy continued. He was crucified between two thieves – more misfits from society. The prophet Isaiah said that in death, he “was numbered with the transgressors” (53:12).
Now, Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for misfits and sinners like me.*
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