Two Principles for the Missional Table: Bringing People to Jesus

In a world where many people are seeking answers to life's questions and longing for fulfillment, we, as believers, have the incredible opportunity to bring them to Jesus. This mission is not limited to those who are already close to God but extends to those who are far from Him. In this article, we will explore two essential principles for creating a missional table where people can encounter Jesus. By understanding these principles, we can effectively reach out to others and help them find the relationship with Jesus that they desperately need.

Principle 1: Welcoming the Curious and the Seeking
One key aspect of creating a missional table is opening our hearts and homes to those who are curious and seeking to know who Jesus really is. Just like Zacchaeus, a tax collector who was despised by society, there are people around us who may seem distant from God but have a genuine longing to find meaning in their lives.

Zacchaeus, despite his wealth and power, felt an emptiness inside that all his worldly success could not fill. When Jesus passed through his town, Zacchaeus, who was small in stature, climbed a tree just to catch a glimpse of Him. This act of curiosity and seeking led to a life-transforming encounter with Jesus.

Similarly, there are individuals in our communities who may appear to have it all together but still feel empty inside. It is our responsibility to recognize their longing and offer them the hope and relationship that only Jesus can provide. We must not judge who is worthy of the gospel but instead, extend our love and hospitality to all.

The Power of Encounter
When we have everything the world offers and yet still feel a void within, we are ripe for an encounter with Jesus Christ. This emptiness can be a catalyst for seeking something greater than material possessions or worldly success.

Renowned novelist Jack Higgins once said that when he reached the top, he realized there was nothing there. Zacchaeus, too, had everything the world could offer, but he still sought something more. This longing led him to wonder if Jesus had what he truly needed.

Embracing the Opportunity
We should not overlook those who seemingly have everything but are secretly searching for answers. These individuals may be the least likely candidates for a relationship with Jesus, but they are the ones who need it the most.

Just as Zacchaeus was curious to see who Jesus was, we must be willing to allow those around us to see Jesus in us. By inviting them to our tables, both literally and metaphorically, we create an environment where they can witness the love and grace of Jesus firsthand.

Principle 2: Overcoming Barriers and Grumblings
While it is our duty to welcome the curious and the seeking, we must also be aware of the barriers that can hinder their journey towards Jesus. Just as Zacchaeus faced challenges in his pursuit of seeing Jesus, the people around us may also attempt to keep others from encountering Him.

The Crowd's Influence
In Zacchaeus' story, the crowd played a significant role in preventing him from getting close to Jesus. The crowd's grumblings and judgmental attitudes created a barrier that made it difficult for Zacchaeus to see Jesus. It is possible that they didn't believe he was worthy of encountering the Lord.

Similarly, in Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography, he shared an experience where Christians' prejudice turned him away from the Christian faith. The ushers in a church refused him a seat, revealing that even within the church, barriers can be erected that keep people from coming to Jesus.

Overcoming the Voice of the Crowd
As believers, we must not allow the voice of the crowd to deter us from bringing others to Jesus. Whether someone feels desperate and empty like the blind beggar or seemingly has it all like Zacchaeus, we must encourage them to overcome the obstacles and seek Jesus for themselves.

Just as the blind beggar and Zacchaeus ignored the crowd's attempts to silence them, we must empower those who are seeking to persevere in their pursuit of Jesus. We should never judge who is worthy of encountering Jesus but instead offer love, acceptance, and support to all who are on this journey.

The Power of Encounter, Regardless of Social Status
What is remarkable about Zacchaeus and the blind beggar is that they represent opposite ends of the social spectrum. One was a wealthy tax collector, and the other was a destitute beggar. Yet, both of them found their way to Jesus.

This juxtaposition teaches us that Jesus came for the destitute and the wealthy, the rich, and the poor. He came because both groups are spiritually sick and in need of salvation. Our mission is to bridge the gap and ensure that no one is kept from encountering Jesus due to societal judgments or prejudices.

Creating a missional table where people can encounter Jesus is both a privilege and a responsibility. By embracing the curious and the seeking, we can offer them the hope and relationship they long for. However, we must also be aware of the barriers and grumblings that may arise, preventing others from coming to Jesus.

Let us be a community that welcomes all, regardless of their social status or background. By doing so, we can demonstrate the power of Jesus' love and grace in transforming lives. May we never forget that Jesus came for the destitute and the wealthy, and our mission is to bring them all to His table.

This recap is from Restore The Table - Part 3. Check out the full sermon below from Senior Pastor Dr. Roger Patterson.
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