Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, 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.” Matthew 21:31-32
The contrast is staggering – it always has been. The value of the world and the value of God has never been, and never will be, the same. We know, and are reminded every day, what the world values, but we may every now and then need to be reminded of what Jesus values. He finds the outcasts priceless, the nobodies significant, the worthless worthy, the dumb useful, the unborn treasured, and the handicap valuable. His value system is different. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours. So I ask, who will we value today? Will I value the down-syndrome lady who bags my groceries today? Will I look her in the eye as a valued, useful, treasured person? Will you? Lord Jesus, we are in desperate need of a value change in our hearts. Oh may we honor what You honor, give worth to what You count worthy, and treasure the things You see as priceless.
I painted this around Christmas time. It’s no master piece and is painted in a loose style, but I wanted to capture the silhouettes of these young prostitutes standing on the street – their silhouettes symbolize how they stand in darkness. And if we were truthful, we’d say we are just fine with them standing there. We don’t want to see their faces, their shameful ways, or their sinful lifestyles. But Jesus does – He not only sees their precious faces, He knows their names. Therefore, Jesus reminds us of the fact that those who have stood in the shadows – those we could care less to know – “they are entering heaven ahead of you.”