“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”–Luke 11:23 (New Revised Standard Version)
“This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on my side, you’re the enemy; if you’re not helping, you’re making things worse.”–Luke 11:23 (The Message)
Convicting words, are they not? As I read this passage this morning, I found my body paralyzed by these very words. I have been guilty of being the one who scatters rather than gathers. I have been guilty of not helping. I have been guilty of sitting quietly and not saying a word. And how many of you are with me and feel very convicted by these words from Luke too?
Does God not call us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us? Does God not call us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves? Does God not call us to live out the Gospel in this world?
The Gospel is scandalous yet God calls us to trust in God’s love for the world in the life, death and resurrection of his Son. Walter Brueggemann captures this well when he writes, “The Gospel is a very dangerous idea. We have to see how much of that dangerous idea we can perform in our own lives. There is nothing innocuous or safe about the Gospel. Jesus did not get crucified because he was a nice man.” (Thanks for sharing this quote Slate Project)
Jesus was the first to sit with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus was the first to forgive. He washed Judas’ feet knowing that Judas would betray him before evening was over. He still welcomed Peter at that same table and broke bread with him and washed his feet knowing that he would deny him three times. Jesus stood with the woman at the wall and offered her life giving water; the life giving water only Jesus could give. Jesus was all about turning over the tables and welcoming all especially those on the outside to the table.
In hearing these words today, I am convicted. I want to be the one who gathers God’s people together. I want to help and not hinder the mission of God in this broken fractured world. I want to be on the side of love, and grace, and mercy and forgiveness!
Yet it is because of my sins and the sins of all of us that Christ hung on that tree as he breathed his last. It is because of our actions and God’s love for us that I am indeed convicted; convicted because of God’s love for this broken fractured world.