Jesus was despised by the religious people at the time. For them, holiness was about being separate from others, following rules and regulations which kept them clean in the eyes of God. Jesus brings about a new way of living showing that following him really is better than religion.
In this story Jesus calls Matthew to follow him. Matthew was a tax collector, despised by the Jewish people and a social outcast. Jesus looks past that and invites himself to Matthew's house to party with other tax collectors and sinners. What is our attitude to those on the edge? Do we engage like Jesus, or do we stand off at a distance like the Pharisees?
What do we think about when we think of heaven? Raj talks about Jesus' encounter with the Sadducees. The video that was played in this talk can be viewed at https://youtu.be/Zy2AQlK6C5k
As we enter the final week of Jesus' life we see another encounter with the religious leaders. In these three parables about some sons, a vineyard and a banquet we see Jesus challenging the Pharisees about their response to him. The challenge is there for us today too. Do we come in and enjoy the banquet, or stay outside eating cookies?
Whilst Jesus being called 'Son of David' might sound strange to us, there was a definite reason why this name was being used. Shirley talks about what we can learn from these encounters.
When the mother of two of Jesus' disciples comes with a request for her sons, Jesus uses it to teach about what true greatness looks like.