Qumran was a first century Jewish community that had isolated itself from outside influences to prepare for the arrival of the Messiah (the Saviour). They took great care in keeping their traditions, rituals and strict adherence to rules of conduct. Surviving documents show that they would not allow the lame, the blind or the crippled into their communities. This was based on their conviction that anyone with a physical ‘blemish’ was unclean. During their feasts, disabled people were never on their guest list.

Ironically, at that same time the actual Messiah was at work in the cities and villages of Judea and Galilee. Jesus proclaimed His Father’s kingdom, brought teaching and comfort and worked mighty miracles. Strikingly, He proclaimed: “When you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed” (Luke 14:13-14).

The contrast between Jesus’ words and the guest list of the Qumran ‘spiritual elite’ is instructive to us. Often we like to spend time with people who look, think and act like us. But our Lord exhorts us to be like Him and open our doors to everyone.

The inclusive gospel cannot be shared by an exclusive people. —George Sweeting


Dennis Fisher


Our Daily Bread