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Jesus loves the

Underdog!

 

Dear Friends,

          If you have ever felt like or been an underdog I have good news: Jesus loves the underdog!  It is almost as if He prefers you over someone who is on top of everything, who is polished, and shiny, and successful.  We know this first by the men He chose as His disciples. These men were of low social stature, little money and education, and men who appeared to be going nowhere (tax collectors, and fisherman, etc.)  Just listen to Matthew’s description of the story of when Jesus called him to be a disciple:

          Matthew 9:9-13  “As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth.  “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

          While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.  When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” 

          On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice.  For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

          Isn’t that awesome???  It is for me because I know what it is like to be an underdog.  After developing physically normally until puberty, I suddenly experienced a lag.  Instead of going through puberty with my friends, my physical development wasn’t fully realized until college.  When I went to high school I was only 4’11’’ and 98 lbs.  That made me the 5th smallest person in a school of 2500 kids including girls and one midget.  As a boy you can image how this put me behind the eight ball and made me an underdog.  I became a target for abuse and the butt of many jokes.  Girls never took me seriously or paid much attention to me as a candidate for dating.  All of this happened during a time of our lives that is arguably the cruelest.  Needless to say, I know first hand what is like to be a reject, to not be accepted and to be told that your worth as a person is very low.  I doubt very much that I would be a counselor today if I hadn’t walked this dark road.  This makes me identify with the disciples.  I thank the Lord for this season now, and I know that He ordained it, and that His finger prints are all over the pain and lessons learned during this time.

          A quick review of the book of Luke sheds light on how much Jesus came to minister to the weak, the needy, the powerless, and the lost.

          ---Chapter 4:  Jesus is rejected at Nazareth by his own town

          ---Chapter 5:  Jesus heals a leper and paralytic and calls Levi the tax collector

          ---Chapter 6:  Jesus teaches us to love our enemies, and to not judge others.

          ---Chapter 7:  The faith of the Centurion (a non Jew and a Roman soldier), Jesus raises a widow’s son, and Jesus is anointed by a prostitute.

          ---Chapter 8:  The healing of a demon-possessed man, and Jesus raises a girl from the dead and heals a sick woman.

          ---Chapter 9:  Jesus feeds 5000

          ---Chapter 10: The parable of the Good Samaritan

          ---Chapter 13:  A crippled woman healed on the Sabbath

          ---Chapter 14:  Jesus at the Pharisees house instructing him (v. 12-14) to invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind when he has a feast.  Also the parable of the Great Banquet in which the same group was invited instead of full able bodied people who make excuses why they can’t come.

          ---Chapter 15:  The Parable of the Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, The Prodigal Son.

          ---Chapter 16:  The Rich Man and Lazarus

          ---Chapter 17:  Ten healed of Leprosy

          ---Chapter 18:  The Little Children and Jesus

          ---Chapter 19:  Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

          ---Chapter 21:  The Widow’s Mite.

          ---The rest of the book is about Jesus betrayal, his humiliation before his friends, family, and enemies, and his death and resurrection. 

          I’m so glad that our Savior, God’s son, the second member of the trinity (making Him God), not only understands underdogs, but became one Himself, and made it His focus to reach out intentionally, and almost exclusively to the down and out, the rejected, the lost, and to, ultimately, the underdog.

                                 Jesus loves your powerlessness, 

                                 Paul