The Gospels are filled with endless stories of Jesus’s encounters with overlooked and undervalued people, where he accepted them and showed them their value. It's what led him to sit down with the woman at the well. Everybody else avoided her, and none of the women even wanted to walk with her. Most people only saw four failed marriages when they looked at her, but Jesus saw a testimony in the making. Jesus opened up her life and had a real conversation with her. After this conversation and interaction, this woman, that nobody would even talk to, ended up being the one who shared the gospel with her entire community.
Accepting and valuing people is also what led Jesus to Zacchaeus. Everyone else saw Zacchaeus as a corrupt and sleazy man. But unexpectedly, Jesus stated that he would be coming to Zacchaeus’s house. After spending time with Jesus, he ends up giving over half of his finances in that moment and most history would tell you that he becomes one of the bishops in Caesarea.
Seeing people’s value is what led Jesus to talk to Nicodemus. Most of the religious people of the day admired him and thought he was doing everything right by following all the rules. But Jesus’s disciples saw Nicodemus as arrogant, self-righteous, and only caring about his rules. They couldn’t stand Nicodemus, but Jesus saw something else. He saw a God-story in the making. He spent time with him. Then, when Jesus was later crucified, only two people took Jesus's body off the cross and prepared it for burial. Who were they? One of them was Nicodemus.
1 Timothy 1:15 says, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” The great news that we learn through these stories in the Gospels is that Jesus cares about and accepts everyone, no matter their standing in society, the sins they have committed, or how the rest of the world perceives them.
Discussion/Reflection Questions: When have you accepted and valued someone that others did not? What did this change for that person?