Numbers 14:24
New International Version
But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.

God likes different.  People do too, reluctantly.  This past weekend we reflected on Jesus’ triumphant return to Jerusalem.  The multitudes adored Him because He was different, a revolutionary, infuriating the self-righteous religious leaders.  They were even further provoked by a jealous rage.  Jesus was loved, they weren’t.  They were popular, but not now.

I read somewhere this week that Jesus was in a country that was very deliberate in being righteous.  Jesus, by the worlds view, should have been happy with what he saw.  Everyone was going to church.  People had public prayer meetings.  Everyone was seen making offerings to God.  Cussing and cursing was illegal.  Drunks and sexually immoral people were punished and looked down upon.  Jesus however was different.

I think that is why the religious had such a hard time accepting Him.  He did not fit in what they were expecting to see in a Messiah!  They wanted a Messiah that was like them, and their interpretation of what they thought the Messiah should be like.  They had an idea of what the Torah was teaching.  Jesus was completely different, however.

Jesus wasn’t attractive to the moral majority, the righteous in Jerusalem, and vice versa.  Religion was the fad in that day.  Righteousness was easy, it was going with the flow.  Jesus was attracted to the unrighteous, and the unrighteous were attracted to Him as well.  He brought God to a touchable, human level.  The‘righteous’, the religious, wanted God to be unreachable.  I think so they could maintain control and popularity.  Jesus, God the Son, was totally reachable, and that was a problem.

The Bible says God doesn’t hear the prayers of the unrighteous, the sinners, of which I am one.  He is attentive though to everything.  He is Omnipresent, Omniscient, Eternal and All Powerful.

John 9:31
King James Version
Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth

God hears when an unrighteous man, a sinner is praying, but I think He hears just the sound of their noise, as 1 Corinthians 13 says, ‘loud clanking cymbals’.  I know a compulsive liar.  I try to be nice, but everything said is untrue, absolutely everything.  Funny enough, I can’t even understand what‘s being said, it’s too much wasted energy to translate.  I just nod my head and act like I am paying attention.

Jesus shows us that there is a difference between hearing and listening.  I think Jesus is listening to our prayers, waiting for us to come to our senses and say, Lord, I am a sinner, forgive me, change me. Until then, it’s just falling on deaf ears.

We are all sinners.  No one is righteous, no not one.  All have fallen short.  No one even seeks God, the Bible says.  We are helpless without God intervening into our lives.  We can’t climb a mountain, or fast our way into heaven.  God wants just one thing, which is the purpose of reading the Bible.  He wants us to realize that we can not ever deserve to go to heaven, that we can not ever under our own strength, reading skills, or good conduct have a relationship with God.  Jesus, being different, had a better relationship with the unrighteous of His life on earth than He did with thesupposed righteous.

Luke 18:11
New International Version
The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector.

The Pharisee thought that he was righteous.  He thought God was just like him, probably imagined a fatherly figure in heaven, gloating over him as he prayed.  Notice that he stood by himself.  He was praying at the tax collector next to him.  Don’t you hate it when people pray at you?  He put God into his expectations.  God is different, and He loves everyone, even the Pharisee.  That is the reason He came to this world, to show us all how much we need him, and how impossible it is to get to know him on our own.

Jesus heard the prayer of the following ‘righteous’ man, although he was completely different from the normal religious community of his day.

Luke 18:13
New International Version
But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

Once the tax collector did that, he was saved.  Jesus said that the tax collector went home a righteous man, a changed man, a different man.  He was different from who he was a mere 5 minutes earlier, and he was undoubtedly still different from the self-righteous pharisee.  He was on his way to heaven, and the pharisee wasn’t, unless he changed later on.

Do you want to be different?  Do you want your life and destiny to be changed?


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