Some time back I taught 150 some odd messages on the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I saw, by teaching ‘systematically’ (verse by verse), so many profound and life altering things in the process that I’d never seen before. It changed me….obviously for the better and I believe it changed the entire Trinity Family.
One of those things that became apparent was in the way that Jesus related to people; how He talked to them and how He loved them. But I began to notice a pattern with Jesus. And as important as the ‘words’ were that Jesus spoke I became convinced that more often than not….it wasn’t His words that made the difference in many of the stories recorded in the gospels. There was something in the atmosphere that was the difference-maker!
One good example was when Jesus came by Matthew, the tax-collector. Jesus was just walking by and said, “Follow Me”. And Matthew dropped everything and did just that. What would cause Matthew to do that? It seems like an easy question for us, being that we know Who Jesus was….but Matthew didn’t have the advantage of knowing that like you and I do. Jesus was already a controversial figure and the entire population was ‘polarized’ as a result of Who He was….and how He did what He did.
My opinion on this is that the atmosphere wherever Jesus went was 100% charged with “agape”, unconditional love. It was an atmosphere void of any condemnation, whatsoever! Everybody hated and despised the tax collectors. Could it be that the reason Matthew ‘followed’ Jesus is that he felt, not only ‘accepted’ in that moment, but ‘valued’ as well (probably for the first time in his entire life!)?? I believe so! His encounter with Jesus changed his life forever……just like a similar encounter will change your life forever.
The ‘atmosphere’ around Jesus was ‘inviting’. It ‘drew’ people in and that’s why He always had a crowd of sinners and tax collectors around Him. That’s what agape does! That atmosphere around Jesus is exactly the atmosphere that’s being produced around you!! But it can only be produced by our deepening relationship with the Father. It’s nothing you can ‘work up’. But it’s a natural by-product of our connection with the Father.