No matter how many times I read the Gospels, something always strikes me about Jesus. There’s always something that seems new or fresh, something I never noticed before. Recently I was reading through the Gospel of Mark. It wasn’t that I had a bright light moment or some awe inspiring revelation. It was quite the opposite. It was simple. A reminder. A step we often overlook in the disciple making process.
This is what we read in Mark chapter 2.
'Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum? ” When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”' Mark 2:15-17 [NLT]
When was the last time you had someone over for a meal? Not just anyone, someone who wasn’t in alignment with your values. Someone who doesn't believe the way you believe. Someone who isn’t safe. Someone who might stretch you a bit.
Jesus wasn’t enjoying a meal with like-minded Jews who were playfully bantering theology. Jesus was enjoying a meal with the disenfranchised, overlooked and those with a very different viewpoint on the way life was going in Israel than many of the leading religious leaders.
In order to make disciples the way Jesus did, a way that reflects Mark 2, there are some insights that need to become a natural part of our disciple making rhythm.
reprioritize your best time
Some of you are inundated with religious meetings. They are probably “good” meetings, but deep down you know they aren’t the top priority. If you had your way, you’d pay someone to sit in for you. With the amount of meetings you already have in place, it’s difficult to find time for another “thing.”
Maybe you need to examine your motives on this one. How much of our “good” meetings that take up all our time is a spiritual sounding excuse for not doing what God is actually calling us to do?
There’s no easy way around this. You simply have to change your priorities.
Jesus’ priority wasn’t hanging out in the Temple with the religious folk of His day. His priority was the overlooked of His day. He was anointed to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to captives, sight to the blind and freedom to the oppressed [Luke 4]. Making disciples and ushering in a new kingdom.
Disciple making movements happen when you prioritize people that the religious have forgotten.
When we eat a meal with someone, barriers are broken down. The things that divide us suddenly seem much smaller.
Recently I began a spiritual conversation with a gentleman that I am wanting to disciple. He holds no religious beliefs, but is open and asking questions. Before I knew the majority of the details about him, my wife and I invited him and his wife to our home for a meal.
He had been attending our campus for a short while and felt comfortable accepting the invitation to meet for dinner. He and his wife spent four hours in our home eating and getting to know my family.
This is why that meal was unmistakably important.
A week later he and I met over a cup of coffee and he said, “I wouldn’t have felt comfortable having this conversation with you if it weren’t for the fact that you had us over for dinner.”
I wonder how many opportunities we miss with ready soil to disciple because we simply won’t share a meal with someone.
defend the mission at all costs
The religious are right there, questioning why Jesus is doing what He is doing. Eating with those who needed a friend. Eating and enjoying life with those who were open to His message. Those He was inviting into a Kingdom way of life.
The religious didn’t understand and were rude to the guests. “Why is he eating with such sinners?” Scum in the New Living Translation. They couldn’t imagine a religious person eating with such horrible people and Jesus immediately defends the movement.
“The sick need a doctor.”
Your time as a minister, pastor, disciple maker is best spent with those who need a doctor, not with those who already have been cured. The adventure of following Jesus is found in defending the disciple making call at all costs to those who would curb it for religious sounding jargon.
We have all been side-tracked by well-intentioned people with a good idea. In Jesus’ case, these people were terrorists against His mission and Jesus would pay the ultimate price for this decision. Defend the disciple making movement at all costs against good ideas, well-intentioned people and mission terrorists.
The sick need a doctor.
This is when disciple making movements happen.
When we reprioritize our best time
When we barbecue first
When we defend the mission at all costs
What change do you need to make in order to see a disciple making movement happen where you are?