I’ve been pondering Jesus’ interactions with people…. What occurs to me is the diversity of the people with whom He interacted. But not only that, except for His regular criticism of the hypocrisy of religious elites overall, Jesus dealt with individuals as individuals… not as members of or as representatives of a marginalized or preferred group.
– He provided defense to a woman caught in adultery against a punishing mob.
– He went home with a curious and dishonest tax collector for supper.
– He received a Pharisee in the dark who had questions but didn’t want to be seen seeking Jesus out.
– He commended the faith of a Roman centurion who sought Him out and who recognized and respected Jesus’ authority.
– He sat and talked to a woman of questionable reputation at a Samaritan community well, violating many social conventions of the day.
– He recognized the dignity and worth of children and told his disciples to let them come to Him.
– He compassionately healed the ear of a soldier injured by one of His disciples.
– He had no reluctance to touch or be touched by leper outcasts and healed each who asked him.
– He spared a desperately sick woman who violated social convention in touching Him from ridicule and shame by the crowd by calling her “Daughter”, commending her faith, and healing her.
– He commended the faith of friends of a lame man who was delivered to Him with great difficulty through an opening in a roof.
– He healed mothers-in-law, little girls, blind men, demon-possessed cemetery-dwellers, and even called forth a man from the grave.
– He was patient with those who doubted.
– He was compassionate toward those who were bound to their wealth.
– He pointed out the hypocrisy of religious elites.
– He told a government official that God alone held His life in His hands.
– He spoke truth to power even as He faced a sentence of death.
– He received the dying confession of a thief and granted salvation to him.
– He endured the indignity and suffering of the cross and prayed for forgiveness for His persecutors.
– He blessed the faithful service and sacrifice of women with His Resurrected Presence and used them to announce His victory over the tomb!
– He memorialized a woman’s loving and sacrificial gift of anointing His feet when His host showed no hospitality or honor to Him, a guest.
– He acknowledged the authority of established government and directed his followers’ attention to a heavenly kingdom that was not in conflict with that of the earth.
– The “THEY” He referred to in conversation were people He said were blessed by their brokenness, their need of comfort and meekness, pursuing righteousness, mercy, purity, and peacemaking.
– He was obedient to the will of His Father, even to death and beyond.
– He patiently explained again and again to those who didn’t understand the prophecies about Himself and God’s plan for the Messiah.
Over and over again, Jesus dealt with individuals as individuals and did not lump them together by national origin, skin color, ethnic background, education, vocational status, political beliefs, etc. He did not coerce them to accept His truth, However, neither did He avoid speaking it, knowing it would cost Him family, friends, reputation, safety, and even His life.