Jesus ate with sinners


A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. John 4:7
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"Queenslander's have hit back at the principal of a Christian college after he organised a transfer for two student teachers who wore traditional Muslim headwear during a work experience placement this month." (source)


Instead of accepting these two young Muslim women into the school with open arms, the school asked for them to be transferred and got a stack of very bad press in return. What an opportunity the school had - surrounding these young women with loving and tolerant Christian teachers, students and parents. Sharing their faith, talking about Christ and demonstrating that Christians can love and accept others and welcome those of different faiths.  

Every time we turn away someone who is not a Christian, someone struggling in their Christian faith or a Christian who has reached a different conclusion to us, we are being narrow minded and intolerant. How many sinners did Jesus meet and of those, how many did he turn away. 

None.

He welcomed them all and there were many. He welcomed the poor, the weak, the unclean, the sick and outcasts. He welcomed the dregs of society - those we usually walk past and want to avoid. 

He ate with them, He talked with them and I am sure they didn't all agree with Him. He even allowed a woman who was sinner ("her sins, which are many") to wash his feet - a very intimate act. The reason was simple, Jesus knew that it was the sinners that needed Him the most, whilst those already Christian were "whole" and were not in urgent need of a "physician". We need to do the same. Our ministry is to reach out to those who are struggling and those who do not believe and do as Jesus did.  He didn't tell them to leave, He listen and then He spoke and He made a differences. If only the school in the article above did the same. 

But what is very important - the Lord Jesus Christ reached out to the sinner, but He did NOT love the sin, He did however LOVE the individual and for this reason "the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. (Luke 9:56)

I am married to unbeliever so I know first hand what non-Christians think of Christians. They think we are bigots, we are intolerant, narrow-minded, they think we have this idea that we are better than everyone else. We look down at others not wanting to mingle. We need to walk the talk and be far more like Christ. He didn't look down on the publicans and tax collectors as if they were second class citizens, He didn't walk past them to avoid a conversation, He reached out even if it meant being challenged. Us women need to do the same. For me, this blog is a perfect platform for reaching out and perhaps make a small differences to another woman who is struggling and if her views are different to mine, then I need to have faith (and pray and trust in the Lord) that I can make a differences. 


And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Mark 2:13-17
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Comments

  1. Being an example is always the best testimony. One friend had this sign in her home: "Preach the gospel and if necessary, use words". I will never forget it. If you have a moment, this would make a nice addition to our Monday link up today :)

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  2. Hi Jo,
    Nice read. I am wondering why would a Muslin want to attend a Christian College? Why would a Non-Christian want to attend a Christian College... And by the same token...why would a Non-Muslim want to attend a Muslin college? I guess I agree with you to a certain extinct. Although there is a difference in us and Jesus...and that is we are not Jesus...However, we should be striving to become like him. We are not perfect beings...and never will be...that is not until the return of Jesus. I don't think it's about tolerance. I think it is about standing up for what you believe in. The word of God says...that we are not to commune with nonbelievers. It also says that we should come out from among nonbelievers. And of course I am paraphrasing it. That does not mean that you can't communicate with non-believers or you are not to love non-believers. That only means that you are not to run in the same crowd. I think there is a scripture that says Christians are not to walk with non-believers. I don't think these people should be crucified for this...unless we know their reasoning. Are they spreading hate? I hope not...because as you said Jesus is love. But if the college is a Christian College...then it is being specific to what exactly it is. By the way I have no idea who Queenslanders is. We should all respect the faith or lack thereof that people chooses. I would definitely like to know about this situation...before drawing any real conclusion.

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    1. To answer your last question – this particular school is in the state of Queensland (similar to the states you have in the USA) and those who live in the state are known as Queenslanders. I am not sure why the student teachers selected the school, maybe they didn’t. But perhaps they thought it was a good school with good teachers that would help their teacher training.

      Whilst Christians aren’t to “live in the world” and do sinful activities, we are encouraged to “love our neighbours” and reach out to non-Christians. In reality, one cannot avoid non-Christians and we shouldn’t (we don’t live in a monastery and we aren’t asked to live like that) – and we all need to live and shop and work – and therefore we need to know how to behave around non-Christians without looking arrogant or “puffed up as if we are better than others”. If we live in our own enclaves, how do we spread the word of God? I agree, I am sure the media have picked up bits of this story and perhaps haven’t told us everything.

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    2. Thanks for answering my question. I frequently notice Christians being crucified for their actions. Some of the media seems to always look for that opportunity. Why is that? Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is what we as Christian should do. But we are by no means perfect...we make mistakes. Perhaps Queenslanders made a mistake...I don't know. I would definitely want to hear their reasoning for doing this. We are to live in the world but not be of the world. And I am sorry...but I just don't get why Non-Christians would want to attend a Christian school. Yeah, this does happen...but I don't understand it. When someone attends a Christian school... I automatically assume that they are Christians. I didn't say we were suppose to avoid Non-Christians...I was only paraphrasing scriptures. Maybe, I just don't understand what a Christian College is. When I said run in the same crowd...I meant hang out together. I am reminded of the scripture where Jesus sends the disciples out to minister...and tells them if they are not received...then they are to dust their feet off and leave. Is being a Christian one of the requirements of entering the school? Again, I would definitely like to know more about this.

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  3. These were student teachers. The school had the perfect chance in deed and word to live and preach the gospel to these two young women. They would have been surrounded by Christians, and those Christians would not have been in the world, rather have the greatest opportunity to give reason for their hope, been able to share who Jesus really is with two women who have some insight into Him, and be able to show that Christ really does dwell in us. If the school had approached the problem with a mission mindset, using the power of prayer each day, two souls may have been saved, but the opportunity was lost, and the world now see further evidence of Christians behaving without love nor grace - how the media portrayed it. Sad that we seem to be incapable of taking a situation, and know how to work outside of comfort zones, and truly bring the gospel to those who need it most. If one's faith is strong, and we live in prayer, and the Word through the Holy Spirit teaching us, we need never fear for God will work His Will and way, to enable those to whom He is a stranger to be so no more.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Trish, these women were attending university and part of their three year teacher training is undertaking prac-teaching (hands on teaching experience). When I was at university I did two blocks of teaching at two different schools. Each block was around two weeks each .

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    3. So basically, they were doing an internship. Since, this is a Christian College...does that mean they teach Christianity? Maybe, this College needs to be more specific about their acceptance policy. I removed my comment because I found out they were their for 2 weeks. I am just saying that...I don't know why he chose to transfer these women. Just giving him the benefit of the doubt.

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    4. Trish, yes an internship and no they would not have been teaching Christianity , just standard classroom teaching such as maths and English.

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  4. I must respectfully disagree, Jo. I think that having Muslim women learning to teach school classes in a Christian school is a conflict of interests. If that college is teaching Christian content in their classes (which I would hope they are), then the best people to teach it are Christians, not Muslims. Teachers are an authority in a child's life and Christian parents send their children to a Christian school with the expectation that those of like beliefs are teaching their children (don't they??).

    I'm a little baffled as to why the school accepted Muslim student teachers to begin with, though - I would have thought they would vet them a little more thoroughly to prevent this happening to begin with.

    To look at this from another point of view, would a Muslim school be happy to let Christians in to their school to do a student teacher rotation?? People who have a set of beliefs like that tend to want the people teaching their children to be likeminded, and I think that is fair. It's not like it was a secret that the school was a Christian college (therefore causing people to be shocked that they would want to retain Christian staff only in their school)!
    Dan briefly worked as a computer technician in a Muslim school in NSW and it was unthinkable for those religious zealots to have a Christian teacher or student teacher in their midst - should Christians be any less zealous about ensuring those who are teaching their children are Christian??? Shouldn't we be even more zealous about separating from the world in the educating of children from Christian homes??
    Just my thoughts.

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    1. Clara,

      Whilst this is a Christian school, I would assume (like most) the standard curriculum is taught as it is anywhere without a Christian thread running through it. Meaning maths is taught as in any other school. Therefore a non-Christian could teach maths for example. Very few (large) Christian schools incorporate Christian teachings into all their classes (as you do in your home-schooling). However I may be wrong for Redlands College.

      I am also baffled to why the school accepted the students in the first instances if they were opposed to them. However from the media reports, it wasn’t the parents who were complaining. I would be interesting if a Muslim school would accept a Christian student -teacher – no idea, however most Muslim schools are very religious and a non-Muslim would not be able to teach as Islam is probably (I assuming) taught through all the curriculum (this goes back to the fact that many Christian schools don’t teach Christianity across their curriculum). In fact they wouldn’t take a full-trained non-Muslim teacher I am sure.

      Interestedly, a growing number of non-Christians are sending their children to Christian schools because they are often better when it comes to discipline and have better educational outcomes. They don’t send them for the Christianity (or participate in church activities). I went to an Anglican private school and many of the students weren’t church going or Christian – it was just considered a very good school. I knew families who sent their children to Catholic schools even though they believed in nothing, not sure what stories they told when enrolling their children.

      It is an interesting topic.

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  5. I did a little research into the school, and from what I gather, it is an independent school - most independent schools will use a Christian curriculum for everything, often even mathematics, English - everything. I know this was true for the independent Christian schools I personally knew of in NSW as well.

    I also took a look at the school's overview statements, and they clearly state that their teachers must be Christian because of their goals in providing a certain atmosphere in the school. You can read it here: http://www.redlands.qld.edu.au/overview.html

    I think that in light of all that, the situation with the muslim women was definitely a conflict of interests and the principal was well within his rights to ask them to be transferred (he also was within his legal rights - "According to Section 25 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991, employers are allowed to enforce a 'genuine occupational requirement that workers act in a way that is consistent with the religious beliefs of the school'.")

    The article I found online also said the women were not upset at being asked to be moved... So I'm not entirely sure why there's a big fuss over it to begin with!!

    As for why the school accepted the women to begin with - I believe the women were placed there (not their choice), and because no interview or any such is involved, the principal would have had no idea they would be so obviously of a different religious background. I believe he asked them to be transferred on their first day - this would have been his first opportunity to know about it.

    I've been giving this issue a lot of thought, and it struck me that if we were living in Bible times and the Lord Jesus were here, He would have done no less if He had seen such a thing happen in a school - He would not encourage Jews to have people of other beliefs teaching children or even participating in their environment. Yes - Jesus Himself ate with publicans and sinners, but let's not forget that He is/was God... perfect, with all power and authority. He definitely taught separation from the world. Not tolerance.

    If we were talking about a Christian university where it only involved adult teachers and adult students, perhaps this would be different... But these are children, and the principal was making a decision to provide a wholesome Christian environment for the students of the school.

    I applaud him for standing up for what is right. :)

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