The Inclusivity Of Jesus

“Inclusion elevates all”

Elaine Hall

During the political era in which Jesus lived, societal and political affiliations significantly shaped individuals’ lives, status, and future opportunities. People were predominantly categorized by their ethnic backgrounds, professions, and social statuses, such as Chaldeans, Romans, Jews, Samaritans, soldiers, artisans, fishermen, Pharisees, scribes, women, children, and slaves. Each group formed a distinct class, generally not interacting outside their own circle. Furthermore, internal politics and rivalries often influenced these groups’ dynamics and relationships, highlighting the complexity of social stratification in that historical context.

New Prerequisites for Inclusion

Now, here is a radical idea: Our inclusion in God’s family and circle is not based on our righteousness but His: The question of where I belong is a universal enigma.  How do you get accepted in the deemed special higher class or group? What are the inclusion rights one must mitigate to become accepted? Who has determined that the perceived highest, richest, most influential clever group deserve this status? Jesus preached a RADICAL idea: that if God’s family is acknowledged as the highest possible group one can aspire to, Your inclusion into His family is not based on your performance, but His kindness and mercy! 

“For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:20).

It is not by being in the right family: 

“He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:29). 

It is not even in that we have nothing to give Him: 

“Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said: “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20).

It is not based on religious magical rites: 

“Jesus, grilled by the Pharisees on when the kingdom of God would come, answered, “The kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, ‘Look here!’ or, ‘There it is!’ And why? Because God’s kingdom is already among you.” (Luke 17:20-21 MSG).

It is not even by the best religious efforts: 

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21).

The arm of flesh will accomplish nothing:

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.” (1 Cor. 15:50).

“Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:28-29).

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt. 7:13-24).

“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3).

“For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:25).

“…strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22).

The only way of acceptance is to Receive His Righteousness: 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33).

“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32).

Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”  (Matt. 11:11).

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus.” (Heb. 10:19).

Born From Immortal Seed 

“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3).

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13).

“Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.” (1 Pet. 1:23).

A New Definition of “US”

So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:29).

“Now after the two days He departed from there and went to Galilee. For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.  (John 4:43-44).

“So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” (Matt. 13:57).

Covenant Language & Conduct

When you and your wife fight and quarrel, it is often because one is standing “outside the circle.” We refer to “you” and “your.” Covenant language is “US.” Using this word forces us to think differently. We take ourselves out of the circle so many times, or we do not allow people into our circle.

Who is my neighbor? Who are the ‘we’? See Luke 10:29-37: Jesus teaches us to do the same for a stranger as we would for those in the circle. The man did what family would do for him – and he was a stranger; on the contrary, he was of a totally different class and race.

Definining “US” 

Do we see the place where we live as our town and the people of our town as our people?

Divisiveness: It is very dangerous to speak of “them” from within a collective framework while God sees only one, “us”, for example:

  • Within one nation, we avoid “them” and use “us”.
  • Within the universal church, we avoid speaking of another church as, “they” and use, “we”.
  • Within the framework of the Christian church in a certain area, we avoid speaking of other congregations as “them” and refer to “us”.
  • In a company we avoid speaking of management as “them” or the management speaking of the employers as “them” and we revert to “we” or “us”.
  • In a marriage we avoid talking to one another using “you” and “yours and mine” and we revert to “us”.

The word “They” brings separation into your thinking and causes isolation. Your perspective becomes one-sided. You only look from one perspective and lose objectivity.

Labeling: When we speak of “them”, it is not long before we give “them” a label (Matt. 5:22). We call each other names. “You are always like that…”, and “you always do like that…”, and “you never do…”. You demonize the other person as always wrong and evil, which is simply not the truth. You present yourself as the angel, which is also not the truth. Later we only see the label and not the person behind the label 

Dehumanization: Soon like what happens in most wars, we strip people of their humanity. We restrict our view of people according to the judgements we have made of them. You will hear these sentences mentioned in conversasions, with a typical vehement hatred in theur tone of voice. “He is an old liar.” “They are parasites, like cockroaches.”  “They are evil!” The truth would be these people may be busy with some deemed evil deed, but they are not completely evil. They have a family, wife or husband, they may have children who love them.  

Lovelessness: When we talk about “them” it can lead to pride – we disassociate with the mistakes and sins of a group and place ourselves in a better / higher / higher place. As a result, you lose your voice with that group. They experience you as proud, haughty and entitled. They feel the separation – and experience that there is no more authentic love. Without love you have lost your voice in that group (Gal. 6:1).

Victimization: “You fool!” (Matt. 5:22):  It is natural that when you focus only on a person’s mistakes that you then will pick on such a person. You are negative towards such a person and show automatic rejection. You disassociate yourself from that person. 

In a marriage it is very dangerous, because the result of such conduct is:

  • Exclusion: inaccessible; harshness; meanness.
  • Contempt: disdain; dislike; disrespect; arrogance.
  • Criticism: condemnation; judgment; disapproval.

The gospel of inclusion:

Jesus introduced a new way of working and engaging with people, even the ones that offend you. 

  • Try to identify positive and human qualities in the other groups. It’s the beginning of honour and respect.
  • Spread the information – speak positively (Matt. 5: 46-48).
  • Pray for your enemies (Matt. 5:33). When you pray, you regain God’s perspective on the person 
  • Love your enemies – serve and minister to one another.
  • When you have something against your brother, make an appointment and change your language to “we” (Matt. 18 and Luke 17).
  • When you realize your brother has something against you, leave your sacrifice and go and make amendsfirst (Matt. 5: 23-24).

When we begin to focus on our differences, we: 

  • divide humanity into groupings (segregation and discriminiation)
  • build boundaries and walls
  • lose our maturity to look upon mankind divinely and objectively
  • become selfish and impulsive 
  • lose authority to have a say in humanity
  • lose access and isolate ourselves.

The Bible says we must separate ourselves from certain people (2 Cor. 6:17), but inquire of the Lord if He wants you to be used in His disciplinary process to win the person back to the faith. People who cut themselves off from the faith and walk away cannot stop us, but we never refuse people and turn our backs on them (see Chapter 13).

Jesus Was Impartial

Do not treat the lowly and those with respect differently: 

“You shall do no unrighteousness in judgment. You may not be biased towards the small and do not favor the substantial. With justice you must judge your neighbor. ” (Lev. 19:15).

Make no distinction between rich and poor ~ they need each other: 

“Rich and poor have one thing in common: the Lord made them all.” (Prov. 22: 2).

No distinction between employer and employee

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord, neither is the messenger greater than he that sent him. If you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. ” (John 13:16).

No favouritism: 

“My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.” (Jas. 2:1-9).

No racial preference: 

“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and riches to all who call on him.” (Rom. 10:12).

No class preference: 

“where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. (Col. 3:11).

No titles and positions of power: 

But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.” (Matt. 23:8-10).

No distinction between man and woman: 

“There is no more Jew or Greek, there is no more slave or free man, there is no more man and woman; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28).

Those who have won share with those who have not gone to war: 

“For who will heed you in this matter? But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike.” (1 Sam. 30:24).

God is always impartial: 

“And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.” (Eph. 6:9).

Treat each one as an individual: 

“Those who are still indecisive should treat you with compassion. Save others by pulling them out of the fire. ” (Jude 22–23).

“And if one member suffers, all the members suffer together; and if one member is honored, all the members rejoice together. ” (1 Cor. 12:26)

“In a real sense, all life is interrelated. All people are involved in an inevitable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Jesus’ Impartiality and Inclusivity

Jesus eats and socializes with the people who were despised and marginalized by the religious leaders:

  • Matthew (Levi), the tax collector (Matt. 9: 9-13; Mark 2: 13-17; Luke 5: 27-32). He is a tax collector (hated by the Jews because they were considered traitors working for the Romans).
  • Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector, a rich man (Luke 19: 1-10).
  • The Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). 

“For the Son of man came not to destroy the life of man, but to save it. And they left for another town.”(Luke 9:56). 

  • The two “sons of thunder” wanted to call fire from heaven on the people who did not want to receive Him (Luke 9:54).

Factions: this is a work of the flesh – Gal. 5:20 (sectarianism, sectarian spirit). Therefore Jesus warns against parties:

“…Those who are not against us are for us” (Mark. 9:38-40 and Num.11:27–29).

The Samaritan

When the Northern Empire, with Samaria as its capital, was conquered by the Assyrians, they took many of the Jews into exile to Assyria. They settled Jews in that region to cultivate the land and bring peace (2 Kings 17:24). This caused widespread intermarriage between the Jews and the Assyrians and led to a mixed religion and mixed group in that area. 

The Jews of Judah (the Southern Empire), considered the Samaritans an impure group of people and hated them. According to the Jews, they had betrayed their people and religion. Therefore, the Jews went out of their way to avoid Samaria and the Samaritans. 

However, Jesus makes no distinction between Jew and Samaritan: 

  • One of the ten lepers returning and thanking Him was a Samaritan (Luke 17: 11-19).
  • Samaria is included in the missionary journeys and work of the apostles (Acts 1: 8; 8: 1, 5; 9:31; 15: 3).
  • The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 30-37).

Jesus follows a pattern that was repeated later in the Church of Acts. He begins locally in the small town, then the region, then the city, and then the corners of the world. Jesus gathers a new family, people and family of believers around Himself from Galilee: Nazareth; Capernaum; Samaria and Jerusalem: 

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8).

In the Biblical context, “kartharizo” (stigma) refers to cleansing or purifying, both physically and symbolically, from stigma or isolation. When Jesus healed the leper, as described in various passages like Matthew 8:2-3 and Luke 5:12-13, He did more than cleanse their physical ailments; He restored their social and communal status, effectively removing the social stigmas associated with their conditions. For instance, the woman suffering from chronic bleeding, mentioned in the Gospels, was not only healed physically but was also publicly restored, thereby reconciling her with her community. Jesus’ healings consistently aimed to restore individuals holistically, emphasizing the importance of inclusion and acceptance in the community.

Jesus Never Excludes Anybody

“But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” (Luke 4:25-27). 

The place of the woman is restored: 

  • Mary anoints His feet (John 12:1-8) 
  • A woman anoints Jesus’ feet (Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 14:3).
  • He does not even condemn the blatant sinner (John 8:1-11).

Jesus even washed the feet of Judas Iscariot, His betrayer (John 13:2-17).

Jesus’ Family

Jesus’ own family did not even accept Him (Matt. 12:46-50; Luke 8:19-20; John 7: 3-5; Mark 3:21).

Judas, Jesus’ half-brother does not boast of being His brother; he rather calls himself His servant: 

“Of Judas, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.” (Jude 1:1). 

Here is true family: 

“Do you know who my mother is and who my brothers are? He then pointed to his disciples and said, “There is my mother and my brothers. Everyone who obeys the will of my heavenly Father is my true family.” (Matt. 12:48-50; Mark 3:33-35; Luke 2:48-49; John 7:6-8).

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *