All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people (Romans 11:21).
It was Sunday night and I was forced to attend church. As I got in the church van my teenage face showed my displeasure. Katie Shipley, my Sunday School teacher, reached out to comfort me. I pushed her hand away in anger. She responded to my rudeness with a smile. She died a short time later, and for many years after that, I re-lived and regretted my actions of that night.
I’m always impressed with how Jesus always reached out to people. Whether it was to ignorant fools (Acts 4:13), rough-and-tumble fishermen (Matthew 4:18-20), prostitutes (John 8:2-11), the sick and diseased (Luke 5:12-14), the poor (Mark 6:35-42), the social outcasts (Mark 6:35-42), the open-minded religious (John 3), or even one He knew would betray Him (Luke 22:31-34), Jesus always extended a hand of love and understanding.
As Jesus rose from prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, He heard the rumble of a mob and saw the flickering lights of their torches. When Judas leaned in and kissed Jesus, He replied, Friend, why have you come? (Matthew 26:50). WOW!!!
Jesus knew why Judas was there. Only hours before He explained exactly what Judas would do (John 13:21-30). When confronted by His betrayer, Jesus still addressed Judas graciously.
You can be sure that I wouldn’t have replied to Judas like that … and neither would you! Yet Jesus, right down to the very end, was still kind and compassionate.
Thinking I can do it on my own, I’ve often resisted His hand stretched out to comfort or help. Still He reaches out as the Lover of my soul.