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Jesus' People

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Our Scripture reading for tomorrow is Luke 14:1-24.

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Last Saturday night over 11 million people around the world (likely mostly from Canada) tuned in to watch the Tragically Hip concert on CBC. It was a big enough deal that organizations like the Toronto Police tweeted:

"Dear World, please be advised that Canada will be closed tonight at 8:30 PM ET. Have a #TragicallyHip day."

With Gord Downie, the lead singer, being recently diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor this tour is likely the last for the band. And so all eyes have turned to "the Hip" as Canadians have had the opportunity to watch this band perform live one last tour. News media has covered each tour stop, articles have popped up about song lyrics and poems written by Downie and the others, and people have commented on this band that is just so very Canadian. There is this great attraction to them ... so much so that CBC stopped showing the Olympics to air the concert commercial free. This was something, they noted, that everyone should be able to see.

It's interesting, as I reflected on that this week, that I think Jesus was getting that kind of attention in Luke 14. Luke tells us that the Pharisees wanted to keep an eye on Jesus. He was getting attention from all kinds of people -- especially people that the Pharisees didn't think all that highly of -- and so one of the leaders of the Pharisees invites Jesus into his own living room. What better place to keep on eye on Jesus than in the comfort of your own home? What better place to try to influence Jesus than at a swanky dinner party away from all the riff-raff that Jesus normally associated with?

It was the place to be, the event to see, that day. And needless to say, it didn't go well for the Pharisees. Jesus attended the party, but while they meant to keep a close eye on him Jesus used it as an opportunity to keep an eye on them and show them where they had lost sight of the Kingdom of God. The Pharisees and religious leaders thought they were the gatekeepers, they were the righteous ones, but Jesus shows them (and tells them) that His kind of people -- the ones who will attend the great feast in the Kingdom of God -- are those who are humble, who are poor, who are weak, who are down-and-out. These were the people who had no status in society, who relied on the goodness of others. So what Jesus is saying is His kind of people are those who have no leg to stand on to claim their status or salvation.

His kind of people are those who trust in Him alone for their salvation, not in their good deeds or ability to keep the law and all the regulations that had been put in place.

His kind of people are those who are saved by grace alone, through faith, which is all a gift from God.

His kind of people are those who recognize this, and live it out by caring for and loving those around them, especially those who lack the financial resources to get by, or those who are the victims of injustice, or those who are overlooked by our society. 

His kind of people are those who are concerned with the Kingdom of God and not about getting ahead in the world by associating with the right kind of people, and using power to get ahead.

The question for us to consider, then, is are we Jesus' kind of people?

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Guest Thursday, 15 November 2018

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