When Jesus hung out with the drunks, prostitutes, and tax collectors, it doesn’t appear that he actively worked to change them. In other words, I don’t think any preaching or teaching went on while they ate, drank, and danced--he just had a good time with them.
Was he criticized for being with them? Of course he was, but his answer to the criticism was that they needed him, so he was there for them. It wasn’t just his teaching or miracles or good example that affected them. They needed him because it is the presence of Jesus that is healing and restorative. For them, the eating, drinking, and dancing became the church activities that facilitated their being with Jesus.
I wonder sometimes... was Jesus the life of every party. You know, the fun guy toward whom everyone gravitated? I figure he was, considering his entertaining stories and personal popularity. Yeah, he was probably cool.
Not so with me. I usually end up sitting on the periphery of these gatherings, watching, listening, and smiling, because I enjoy people. However, I never quite know how to participate in these settings, and sadly, people become a little uncomfortable about turning it loose in front of the pastor. Occasionally a kind person will come over and speak to me for a moment, then wander back to the crowd.
I’d like to be cooler, but wine gives me a headache and as I get older I become more and more the absent minded professor who isn’t well versed in pop references. I can’t dance and I listen to music that’s a little out of the mainstream, which is to say dull. I don’t even follow sports. No matter how hard I try, there’s just no changing the fact that I’m kind of a nerd.
And that’s okay because in addition to the drunks, prostitutes, and tax collectors, Jesus loves nerds like me. He sees the worth in all of us, and when I look through his eyes, I see more deeply the worth of each person, including myself.