Last week, my husband began a new series at MLC called CHARACTERS WELCOME. He talked about the unbelievable characters to whom Jesus chose to appear after His resurrection – people who you wouldn’t expect to play a role in the divine plan to prove Jesus’ deity. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Check them out:
Mary Magdalene – a previously demon-possessed woman with a scandalous past
Peter – a man who vehemently denied his faith
And, Thomas – a man who was so notorious for his doubt that thousands of years later, we still know him by his nickname, Doubting Thomas.
Really? Of all the people who Jesus could have appeared to first, He chose these characters? These misfits? Not Pilate? Not the High Priest? Not people with great importance or influence? Nope. He chose common, broken people. Characters. A scandalous past, a denier, and a doubter.
Why? Why did Jesus choose them? I don’t know for sure, but I certainly like the lessons I can glean from His choices. Catch this: Jesus cares for those of us with scandalous pasts. He forgives those of us who have denied Him. And, He takes time to overcome our doubts. THAT’S good news, friends! He cared about Mary, Peter, and Thomas, and He cares about us!
So, yesterday, Blake Stanley (Student and Teaching Pastor) continued the series with another story of characters – unlikely people – to whom Jesus appeared. It’s the story in Luke 24 about the two men walking the road to Emmaus. They weren’t men of importance or prestige. They were somewhat obscure. But, Jesus went out of His way to hang out with the marginal, not the important, didn’t He? He went out of His way to engage outsiders. His mission was people, nothing else.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely got a past. I’ve certainly denied my God. My doubts have been my demise, at times. And, I am certain that I hold no great importance in the eyes of this world. Oh, but thank God that He loves me enough to pursue me in spite of my habits, hiccups, and hangups. Thank God that God pursues characters, not just perfect people.
God welcomes all of us characters – you and me. Mind-boggling? Yes, but true. He loves people. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Don’t let misconceptions about God or His church keep you from knowing the overwhelming love He has for you.
Want to hear it for yourself? Click here to watch.