Jesus likes to party with people of all sorts

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Everyone likes a party.

Well, maybe not everyone. People who like people tend to like parties. There is just something about gathering with friends and family to celebrate birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, great accomplishments or just because it is Tuesday. Parties unite us with others in a unique way.

Jesus understood and lived that way. It was more important for him to be with people who needed to be helped than those who thought they were the solution.

One such party was in the home of Matthew.

Matthew was a tax collector. In Jesus' day there were two degrees of people from the lowest class. You had sinners. Sinners were bad people who knew they were bad and didn't care who knew they were bad. They were drunks, liars, cheaters, prostitutes and anything else that you can think of as bad. The religious crowd thought these people were and always will be far from God.

Then there were the tax collectors.

Tax collectors earned their living from collecting taxes. They made a profit through abusing the public for their own gain. Anything that was collected over the required tax lined their pockets. Because they collected taxes they were not welcomed in their own communities. They were not welcome in Roman society because they were not Roman. They were isolated and unwelcome.

Then one day a man named Jesus comes to Matthew and says "Follow me." Matthew does.

Somewhere along the conversation he asks Jesus "Where are we going?" Jesus tells him, "Your house." And there we find the unconventional Jesus not just being with but enjoying the people that no one else wants to be around. Not only was he in a tax collector's house, he sat with him and ate with him and, though the Bible doesn't say, I would venture that he laughed with him.

Whether or not you believe in Christianity, this story of what happened that day reminds us that God is interested in people of all sorts because he likes people. He isn't just interested in those who have everything together. God is interested in people of all shapes, sizes and every walk of life. Jesus went to a party full of people that didn't matter to anyone else but they mattered to him and he enjoyed them. God is more interested in you than you could possibly imagine.

People who like people like parties. Jesus liked parties.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at

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