It’s amazing to read about the way Jesus treated people, especially the “castaways”. These are the people who are often forgotten, ignored, or rejected. The homeless, poor, sick, orphans…I could go on and on. There are castaways all around us.
Most of us shun the castaways. We walk past the homeless man lying on the bus stop. We forget to visit those who are sick. We ignore the needs of the poor. We don’t consider orphans or widows who need help or just someone that they can call “family”.
We have been taught to focus on ourselves, and many become self-centered and self-driven. Everything is all about us. Some of us become so lifted up in our own eyes that we feel like we’re better than other people, even turning up our noses at those who aren’t as fortunate as we are.
Jesus teaches us that it is our neighbors (those around us) that we should care for. We should be concerned about others. We shouldn’t be full of ourselves but full of compassion and ready to meet the needs of others when we have the ability to do so.
Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.” – Mark 12:30-31 MSG
Jesus walked right up to those who others ignored. He could have turned up his nose at people – after all, he was the very Son of God. Instead, he was humble. No one was insignificant in his eyes. He reached out and touched a man whose hand was withered, even though to touch him was frowned upon. Not only did he touch him, he healed him. He confronted the cave dwelling demon possessed man who everyone else was afraid of, and freed him completely. He ate with the tax collector who wasn’t liked. He didn’t become angry when the unclean woman with the issue of blood touched his garment and was healed. He had an eye-opening conversation with a Samaritan woman at a well – even though Jews and Samaritans didn’t really speak to each other. As he hung on the cross, He ministered to the criminal right next to him who was being crucified for his crimes.
To Jesus, everyone was valuable. He came for the ones that were tossed aside and showed them that they still mattered. What an amazing lesson for us all.