What is astonishing is the variety of people that Jesus met and ministered to: men and women, old and young, Jew, Samaritan, Syrophoenician, Greek and Roman, Sadducee and Pharisee, Zealot and Herodian, rich men and poor men. Lepers, demented, blind, deaf, lame, tax collectors, harlots, fishermen, lawyers. The gospels were not deliberately setting out to list all this variety of people – but here was a man who drew the crowds and attracted individuals . . .

One is immediately struck by the contrasts – Jesus will dine with the despised and the honored, with friends and with adversaries and critics. He speaks out for the poor, but He does not ostracize the rich (Michael Griffith, The Example of Jesus, pp. 127 & 129).

For some reason, many people throughout history and from a wide variety of religious beliefs have defined religion solely in terms of a relationship with God. Yet faith is not only a vertical business conducted between heaven and earth but it has great relation to the horizontal connection we have with our fellow man. Part of the genius of Jesus of Nazareth was showing that intimacy with God necessitates the right treatment of people. You cannot claim a love of God, whom you have not seen, without loving the people you see every day. To Jesus, religion is not just vertical and God-centered; it is horizontal and people -centered as well.  — Mike Gravois

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