Do We Pre-Judge Our Neighbor?

Summer 2014, #2   

  Grow Deep And Reach High










Do We Pre-Judge Our Neighbor?

Read Luke 7:36-50 for context.

Can you imagine that? At the invitation of a Pharisee, Jesus walks into his home for a meal (Luke 7:36). “The Pharisees were strict and jealous adherents to the laws of the OT and to numerous additional traditions.”[1]


The Pharisees continually criticized Jesus in his actions and tried to trap Him in His teachings. They wanted to destroy Him. The true heart of the Pharisees can be found in the “Woes” that Jesus pronounced on them in Matthew 23:13ff. The Pharisees and Chief Priests were the driving forces that led to Jesus’ crucifixion.[2]

So why would Jesus eat with them? And what about the woman of the city in verse 37? She was “standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.” (vs. 38). All we know is that she was a sinner. As seen in a recent post, whether one is a Roman Centurion, a Pharisee, or a sinner, Jesus dealt with people as individuals. His desire was to minister to everyone who would listen. He did not shy away from talking to anyone.


Presently I am in New England doing some traveling and you do sense the cultural differences between people from different parts of the country. As I left a Staples office store two days ago, I took a moment to tell the cashier in her 20’s “to think about the most important message anyone could hear – the message of Jesus death on the cross for our sins.” I gave her a copy of the “Knowing God Personally” booklet and encouraged her to read it when she got home.

Being in the middle of her workday, I had just a few moments to plant the seed of the Gospel in her mind and give her something to read. I have no idea of her background or her beliefs but what is important is that I stepped out in faith to tell her about Jesus. The rest is up to Him. Jesus would talk to a Jew, Gentile, Roman soldier or religious leader. He had no fear of man.


What if we do know someone’s background and beliefs? Do we still try to share the Gospel message with them? Absolutely. All they can say is that they’re not interested and we can politely close the conversation. But what if they leave the door open to look at spiritual things? What if they are really hurting and searching? What if someone is on the verge of just ending it all? We just don’t know. Why not be bold and extend the good news of the Gospel to as many who will listen. You have nothing to loose and the person listening has everything to gain.  Maybe a neighbor, a co-worker, a family member or a cashier, all need to hear the Gospel message if they will listen.


If the Holy Spirit moves in someone’s heart and they respond to Christ, their faith will save them and they can go in peace (vs. 50). What about the people around you?


Talk to you next week,

Ben with Cru

[1] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains. New York: United Bible Societies.

[2] Supporting passages in paragraph: Matt. 5:11, 12:2, 15:1-2, 16:1, Matt. 12:14, John 18:3.