Problem #2: The People
"The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?" -Luke 5:30
Grumbling...that about sums it up. Religiously minded people have a problem with the type of people Jesus attracts, hangs around and chooses as His disciples. The church is the only group in the world where you have to be unqualified before you can join.
"After that Jesus went out and noticed a tax collector named Levi (Matthew) and Jesus said to him, "Follow Me". -Luke 5:27
Jesus chooses people that others do not "notice"...we overlook, pass by, step over, determine as unqualified; the very ones that God has determined to pick.
We look for the rich...not the poor.
We want the positive, cheerful and extroverts...not those who mourn.
We choose the strong, the quick, the powerful...not the gentle.
We gather those who appear to have it all together...not those who admit that they are empty, hungry and in need.
We love the line drawers, clarifiers, the excluders...not the ones who draw big inclusive circles and often let others in.
We love the Pugilists...not the reconcilers.
We love our stars, our succeeders, the triumphant ones...not the ones who get a lot of flack, criticism or got a bad reputation.
We look for the ones that will make us feel better about ourselves...not the ones that will lower our public image.
Jesus chooses Matthews.
People with a present and a past. These kind are the ones who get surprised by the choice...people are usually not surprised by our choices. We need more "scandal" in our wake as followers of Jesus. We have lost the amazement and perplexity of grace and love. We don't have enough stories that move our cold, religiously ridged hearts. We need to see more sinners coming to repentance...so that we can hear more heavenly songs of joy...our Angels haven't sung in quite a long time (Luke 15:7 & Rev 1:20)
I think we can recognize the signs of a Jesus community emerging; when the ones being chosen for the "inner circle" provoke "grumbling" from the Religionists.