Jesus came to earth to reach and restore broken people.
During His brief time on earth, Jesus was good at drawing marginalized people to Himself—those who were consistently and deliberately pushed aside by society. He listened, He took action, and He met needs.
Contrary to human nature, Jesus sought out those who were looked down upon—the least of these. As followers of Jesus, we should endeavor to do the same.
5 Times Jesus Prioritized the Marginalized
1. Jesus welcomed children.
“Even when Jesus’s disciples saw children as a nuisance to be avoided, Jesus saw them as a treasure to be welcomed, to be received, to be loved, to be cherished.”
—David Platt (full post here)
“But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).
2. Jesus valued women.
In first-century Palestine, it was unusual for men outside the family to address a woman in any way. But Jesus did things differently. He sat with a woman at the well, He interacted with Mary when she poured perfume on His feet, and when He healed the woman with the bleeding disorder, He called her “Daughter”(Luke 8:48), a term of unmistakable endearment.
3. Jesus touched lepers.
Lepers were among the most stigmatized people in Jesus’s day. Because their disease came with such horrific consequences—including total exclusion from society and family life—lepers were ostracized. But in Mark 1 a leper approaches Jesus to ask for healing, and Jesus does something profound—
“Moved with pity, He stretched out His hand and touched him and said to him, ‘Be clean.’ And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean” (Mark 1:41–42).
4. Jesus accepted Samaritans.
The Jews and Samaritans have had a long history of mutual disdain. This is significant because, in Luke 10, a lawyer asks Jesus what he needs to do in order to fulfill the law. Jesus famously answers, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). When the lawyer asks, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answers with the story of the Good Samaritan who had compassion for the Jewish man left to die at the side of the road.
This parable is more than just a story about being kind. This is a story with significant implications for how we should treat all people. Jesus ends His parable by saying, “You go, and do likewise” (Luke 10:33, 37).
5. Jesus died for sinners.
We should never lose sight of the fact that we should be alienated from the love of Christ, yet God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
We’ll love people better when we better understand how we’ve been loved.
Loving marginalized people is not an optional upgrade for the Church—it’s the way we look like Jesus.