Monday, January 20, 2014


This past week as I was leading my weekly Bible study at Seeds Community Cafe (10:30AM on Wednesdays, Seeds Community, 109 East Pike's Peak Avenue), I had this revelation about Jesus' ministry.  But first, I should say more about my Seeds Bible Study.  Every week at 10:30, around 40-50 people join me in a tiny little restaurant in downtown Colorado Springs.  I stand in the middle of the restaurant, people all sit around me.  Half of the people who come are homeless, or live very near the poverty line, the other half who come are, like me, middle and upper-middle income professionals.  The cafe, founded by chef Lynn Harwell, makes very good, healthy food at a reasonable cost.  All who can pay for  their meals are encouraged to do so.  Those who can't pay are offered an opportunity to volunteer in the kitchen (washing dishes or whatever).  The Bible study is a beautiful mix of high and low, sophisticated and simple, cultured and not so cultured, seekers and searchers of Jesus Christ and fully devoted followers.  The Bible study lasts just 30-40 minutes, followed by a quick prayer, and then everyone is invited to stay for lunch, or head out.  All are welcome.

Now here is my big idea.  Today, if you want to see a big name religious person offer a message, you usually have to buy a ticket to see them.  If you want to see Joyce Meyers, you have to sign up for her conferences (and I'm not dissing Joyce, I like her a lot).  If you want to see Andy Stanley, or Craig Groetchel, the best way is to sign up for a Catalyst Conference (I have seen them both, and love them).  If you want to see Joel Ostein, you have to at least own a TV, or attend one of their weekend worship services in Houston.  But here's the question.  If you wanted to see Jesus teach and preach in the year 31 AD, what did you have to do?

You had to go find Jesus somewhere in the community.  He was usually hanging out in places like Seeds Community Cafe.  He was in the poor barrios of the town.  Jesus would teach around the lake of Galilee, the modern day equivalent to our shipping yards, or rail way stations.  The lake shore was where the working people all gathered.  Jesus almost always offered his theological wisdom in the most abject places and the most questionable circumstances.  And so, as a result, many many people never went out to see him.  It required planning and inquiry to locate Jesus and then to go and listen to him.  It required courage and persistence to see the Savior speak.  A person had to be willing to leave their easy life and head into the; "poorer quarters where the ragged people go" (to quote Simon and Garfunkel).

I can almost imagine conversations occurring in the first century between upper class married couples, living in Jerusalem, who were planning their day.  "What does your day look like, Honey?"  "Well, I'm going to go to the market and pick up some fresh fish, and then I thought I'd drop in and see this teacher everyone is talking about called YESHUA."  "Oh  no, you're not going in for that sort of thing are you?"  "Well, I'd just like to see him, just once."  "Where is he teaching?"  "I hear he will be down in the leper colony today."  "Oh no, not the leper colony!  I absolutely forbid you to go down there!! It's just not safe.  I'm sorry honey, the answer is no.  Why don't you go hear rabbi Gamalil on the other side of town, at least he's teaching in a safer place."  "Ok, you're probably right."

So, here's my question to you.  If Jesus were alive today, he would no doubt be teaching somewhere like Seeds, somewhere like the Springs Rescue Mission, somewhere like Marion Soup Kitchen, somewhere like Ecumenical Social Ministries, somewhere like the old train station in the bad part of town, somewhere like the psyche ward of the local hospital.  If he was there teaching...

Would you go and see him?

All For Now,

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