Sometimes people think there is a kind of person who is a Christian. They might have different things in mind. Perhaps it’s someone very respectable, or someone who seems very saintly. Or perhaps it’s more negative. Sometimes people think of Christians as those who demand a lot, or who are very judgemental. Whatever kind of person we think it is, one thing tends to be the same: I’m not that kind of person!
We’ve been looking at the book of Luke in the Bible as a church over the last couple of months. It’s one of the records of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. And one thing that’s stood out to me is the range of people that followed Jesus.
Right from the start it becomes obvious. We have angels coming to predict births to an older couple (Zechariah and Elizabeth – Luke 1:1-25) and a young girl (Mary – Luke 1:26-38). We have shepherds – hard working men, although perhaps not thought to be the most respectable – meeting a massive group of angels announcing Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:8-21). We have a man (Simeon) and a woman (Anna) celebrating Jesus’ birth in the Temple (Luke 2:22-38).
Then we have John the Baptist speaking to huge crowds and specifically talking to tax collectors (very unpopular at the time) and soldiers (Luke 3:7, 12-14). Jesus calls fishermen, who I suppose were like hard-working small-businessmen/tradesmen, to follow him (Luke 5:1-11) and rich tax collectors like Levi (Luke 5:27-32).
Jesus performed healings and exorcisms in Jewish and non-Jewish contexts (Luke 4:38-41, 7:1-10, 8:26-39).
And some of the lists of his followers are interesting. His twelve apostles include fishermen, tax-collectors, Zealots and traitors (Luke 6:12-16). Tax-collectors (working for the non-Jewish authorities) and Zealots (pro-Jewish anti-authority) couldn’t be much more opposite.
Similarly, we get a surprising, at the time, list that focuses on the women who followed Jesus in Luke 8:2-3, which tells us about the wife of a high up official and a severely demon-possessed woman. In fact, Jesus even brings a most notorious woman into the fold – to the shock of the many (Luke 7:36-50)
You could go on, but the point is that Jesus doesn’t seem to have a type of person in mind. Wealth, status, class, race, sex, age, health, notoriety or respectability etc. don’t seem to be boundaries to Jesus or barriers to following him. If you think you aren’t the right kind of person to be a Christian, Jesus would probably disagree with you!
There was just one kind of person that didn’t seem to be the right kind of person to follow Jesus. All the way through we see a group of proud people who wouldn’t consider Jesus and rejected him. Often they were the religious and respectable (e.g. Luke 6:11, 7:36-50). Sometimes they were the politically powerful like King Herod (Luke 9:7-9). Sometimes they were the everyday people who just wouldn’t believe in him (Luke 8:53). It not really about who you are then, but your attitude to Jesus.
So there’s not really any kind of person who is a Christian – a Christian is someone who has the humility to come to Jesus as their Lord and Saviour (the one who brings forgiveness of the wrong things they’ve done). Nothing else really matters. Similarly, there isn’t really a kind of person who isn’t a Christian. They are just someone who has refused to come to Jesus.
That means we shouldn’t let anything stop us from coming to Jesus. If you’ve thought that Jesus wasn’t for people like you, then please don’t. Come and find out about how he is for you. You could read about him in the Bible in the book of Luke. Or you could come and join us on a Sunday. Or you could listen back to some of our talks on Luke’s book.