Have you noticed this pattern?
Jesus speaks with a Samaritan woman — an immoral woman at that. Jews hate Samaritans.
Jesus heals a man lame for 38 years.
(John 5:7 ESV) 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.”
This man had not a single friend or family member willing to help him into the pool — for 38 years! But then, many Jews of that day believed that disease resulted from sin committed by the diseased person – an attitude which surely fed that notion that it’s wrong to heal on a Sabbath. After all, the disease may well be God’s punishment!
Jesus forgives a woman taken in adultery. The Jewish leaders were ready to stone her to death, even at the risk of Roman retribution.
Jesus heals a man born blind, even though many Jews considered him to have committed a terrible sin in the womb to have suffered such a fate. He was a beggar and despised. Indeed, when he stated the obvious — that Jesus had healed him — he was excommunicated from his synagogue.
Jesus dealt with others, but he obviously dedicated much of his ministry to the lowest, most despised members of society. Some were despised out of superstitious ignorance, but many were despised because they really were immoral.
Jesus wasn’t merely against harsh and unfair judgmentalism. He reached out to those who were quite properly considered sinners. The Samaritan woman really was a serial fornicator. The woman caught in adultery really was an adulteress. And yet Jesus brought compassion, forgiveness, and even dignity into their lives.
Now, the question of the hour is: How well are we, as a church, doing at replicating Jesus’ attitudes toward the “least of these”?