Good morning friends!
Last night our middle schoolers ate pizza, got to know one another a bit more, and talked about how Jesus sees us!
After some food and fellowship we gathered to introduce ourselves by sharing our names and our most irrational fear in three words or less (turns out lots of our students really hate cliffs and spiders). After that we took some time to share prayer requests and praises, I prayed for us, and we jumped into our lesson!
I began by asking our students what they knew about tax collectors - especially how they were viewed in Jesus’ day. Most students knew that people didn’t like tax collectors, but not many knew why so I took a moment to describe how the tax collectors often demanded more money than was owed, and pocketed the difference. It’s hard to draw a modern day parallel for how truly despised they were based on profession alone.
Then we jumped into Luke 5:27-32 where we read that Jesus not only approached and asked a tax collector to follow him (which would have been very public), but went even further and basically attended a dinner party full of tax collectors!
The Pharisees weren’t huge fans of that, and they made sure to tell the disciples about it. There is no mention of a Pharisee talking directly to Jesus, but Jesus specifically answers them by saying “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
We took some time to try and understand what that means, and how it might affect the way that we treat other people. Often when we read this it's easy to identify ourselves with Matthew as someone whose reputation preceded him - he was a book that people judged by its cover. We broke into debrief groups and considered the ways that we might be like the Pharisees who judge others as well. We also considered whether or not we saw ourselves like Jesus sees us, and that led to some honest admissions in my group!
Next week, we're going to jump into John 1 to talk about our expectations vs. Jesus’ expectations!
Have a wonderful week!