Who Can Turn To Jesus?
A better question might be – who couldn’t turn to Jesus?
As a minister, the most frustrating thing I encounter is someone who claims to believe in God but simply won’t admit that the lifestyle they are choosing to live is outside of God’s will. But by far the saddest thing I encounter are those who understand they have been outside God’s will and would like to make things right but are too afraid they wouldn’t be accepted by God. For those who don’t read to the end of this blog, let me put the punchline here – all who are willing to turn to God in repentance and with faith in the work of Jesus on the cross are acceptable to Him.
People tend to feel that God won’t accept them for one of two main reasons – they are part of a group that is commonly rejected in their dominant culture and have come to believe that perhaps the rejection is justified, based on something that is wrong with them. Others feel as though they have simply sinned too much and for too long to be accepted if they turned back now.
There are a number of stories in the Bible designed to directly clear up issues such as these. I will just mention three here:
The first is the story of the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years but had the faith to reach out and touch Jesus in the hopes of being healed. This story is found in Mark 5: 24 – 34. Because of her medical condition, this woman was an outcast in her society, she was literally considered unclean. When she went to Jesus, though, she was accepted and healed.
The second story is that of Mary and Martha as found in Luke 10: 38 – 42. In this scene Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus, the position of a serious student or disciple. Martha, however, assumed the role of a house servant, as she had been taught to accept. But when Martha questioned Jesus about it, Jesus did not rebuke Mary for assuming a status that supposedly did not belong to her. Instead Jesus said that Mary had chosen the right path and it would not be taken away from her. Women are certainly not always treated the way they should be in modern day America but they were absolutely second class citizens in the society in which Mary lived. Jesus overturned the notion that there are any second class citizens when it came to approaching Him.
And finally, the story of the woman at the well found in John 4: 1 – 42. This individual failed every cultural and religious checklist. She was female in a male dominated society, she was a Samaritan having a conversation with a Jew (in other words her and Jesus were from different ethnic backgrounds) and she was a sinner and had been one for a long time. Jesus offered her the same Gospel message, though, that He offers us all.
If you are being convicted to move toward Christ in faith and repentance or you know someone who is, the most important thing to know is that God will accept all who come humbly in faith. You are not, you cannot be outside of those God will accept and forgive through His Son, Jesus. You are not too bad a person and you have not sinned too much and for too long to return to God and find forgiveness in Christ. I promise!
There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. Romans 2: 9 – 11