This is one of the simplest yet challenging verses in all of Scripture. It pretty much whittles the reason Jesus came to this earth into a few succinct words.
Why did God become man? Because He knew I was lost and any kind of self-effort on my part to get right with God and follow Him was worthless. If something was going to happen, it had to happen from His end, not mine. He did not ask me to come up to Him because I couldn’t. He came to me. He came to my territory. He came into my comfort zone. He identified with me. He walked my walk.
This has huge implications for me in my relationships with others and in fulfilling the ultimate mission Jesus gave me (and all His followers.) in Matthew 28:19 where He said, “Go and make disciples of all nations….”
Think about it. Jesus came to you and me - lost, dead in our sin, far from God, destined for an eternity in hell apart from Him. Now, we are to be like Jesus. We must “go” to those in our relationship networks who are far from God and do everything we can to “make disciples.”
Don’t miss this! Jesus did not come to this earth to be buddy buddy with those who already knew God. He did not come to hang around Christians all the time. He came to connect the disconnected. He came to restore those who were distant from God. He came to show that God is a God of relationship not a God of religion.
How did He do this? He went to where the disconnected were. He did not stand on the street corner, pitch a tent and wait for people to come to Him. He didn’t just stand there in His comfort zone and yell at those who weren’t following Him, “Hey, come on over here – out of your comfort zone and into mine.”
Where is Jesus in this verse? He is right among those who needed Him. He is rubbing shoulders and eating, laughing, having a good time with those who were far from Him. Jesus went to where those who needed Him were.
The results were astounding. People who were far from Him, discovered a relationship with Him and began following Him. All because Jesus went to where the people were – He entered their world and got on their turf.
The Apostle Paul followed Jesus’ example. He went into the turf and comfort zone of those who were far from God. He did not stay in his comfort zone. 1 Cor. 9:19-23“Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn't take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn't just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!”
Our mission is clear. We must go and enter the world of those who are far from God in order to draw them to Jesus. So…who’s world are you entering? Are you stepping out of your comfort zone and into theirs’ so they can meet Jesus? This is our mission as followers of Jesus and it is our mission as a church.