Jesus knew how to tick off religious folk. Imagine for a moment going into a modern day Christian conference. You know, one of those shiny camp meetings advertised in a flashy Christian magazine or the like. In the midst of all the powerful teaching, anointed worship, and prophetic proclamations you walk down to meet with the pastors and church leaders only to give them a message that the homosexuals, foreigners, and non-Christians were entering the Kingdom of Heaven before they were.
One would probably find themselves crucified (if today, thankfully, only figuratively)
But thats exactly what Jesus did in Matthew Ch. 21. He enters the temple courts and starts talking with the senior religious leaders there. He tells them this parable:
“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’See, common sense told them the right answer. But in the religious leaders real faith they instead prefer the man who says the right thing despite ignoring the father’s intent over the one who does God’s will but does it outside the proper framework or with the right words…so to speak.
“ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
“Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered. (Matthew 21: 28-31)
Then Jesus drops the bomb on them just so there is NO misunderstanding:
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.Can you imagine? Jesus wasn’t just trying to make a point in order to get the pastors and elders to “up there game” so to speak. He was actually telling them that people who sold their bodies for sex as well as their fellow countrymen that were working against Jewish nationalism to collaborate with the Roman imperialists were actually understanding, seeing, and entering the Kingdom of God ahead of the morally pure church leaders.
So, with Jesus’ words in mind here are 5 reasons I believe “sinners” are often out in front of Christians when it comes to entering the Kingdom of God.