Jesus built community. He wasn’t about building a movement or a religion or a collection of individuals, but the Lord focused His efforts on building a new kind of community. The two key terms are kingdom and family. The first is the place where people’s hearts and lives are surrendered to the will of God and are working to see that lived out in their daily lives. The second is a place where people view each other as brothers and sisters because God is their Father.
We are reminded of both in the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For yours is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever. Amen.
Great power is found in this family, this Kingdom where God’s character and compassion are seen. So in His ministry, Jesus was always trying to connect this new community with those who were outside it. Jesus was always working to bring outsiders into relationship with insiders. So Jesus shares meals with outsiders like Matthew and Zacchaeus. Jesus goes places, but always with His Kingdom family in tow. Life as a follower of Jesus was not lived in isolation. Much of the teaching of Jesus was done in and around the reality of human relationships in a family, a community. (For more on this, see my Heartlight.org article this week, For Insiders or Outsiders?
So how do we experience this kingdom family today?
How do we become the community of Christ today and then connect our friends with our community so they can experience the transformation of God’s power and grace in relationships with others following Jesus?
How could connecting your friends with Jesus’ community, His family, help you lead them to Jesus? How could it get in the way?
Can a follower of Jesus live in isolation, outside the influence of a community of other believers?
Does Jesus’ community exist for outsiders or insiders?
Can it function with both of these as a primary focus?
I encourage you to pray about and reflect upon these questions and then look at the people in your life — the circles of relationships into which God has purposefully placed you. Now, how are you going to connect those people to your spiritual family? How are you going to connect them to Jesus?
Here are two videos for you to reflect upon. They come from Worship House Media.
The first video is entitled simply, Community:
The second video is entitled, I Am Community: