How Jesus Sees Culture
This is a really important question for a church that is asking the Lord to help us reflect His love for the nations within our own local group of Christians! How does Jesus see culture?
We only have to look into the Gospel accounts to see how Jesus related to people of other cultural groups, people who were not born Jewish like His own people. Emulating Jesus' approach to other peoples and cultures means we need to:
Respect people for their faith in God, not their cultural or language background. We see Jesus in Matthew 8 talking about a Roman military commander who had faith that Jesus could heal his sick servant with a word, "Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith."
Believe that Jesus' good news is for all people. In a town called Sychar, Jesus' disciples returned from buying food to find Him talking with a Samaritan woman. This "taboo" conversation we read about in John 4 resulted in many Samaritans, whom the Jews despised, believing in Jesus!
Proclaim freedom from sin and oppression to all people. In Matthew 8 Jesus traveled to a foreign territory known as the country of the Gadarenes. There He cast many demons out of two men who had been in bondage to their power, a great example to us to cross cultural, traditional, and language barriers in sharing Jesus with people. On another occasion, recorded in Mark 8, Jesus cast the demon out of a Syro-Phoenecian woman's daughter, another foreigner.
Treat people of different cultural and language groups equally. One of ten men Jesus healed in Luke 17 who were suffering from the dreaded disease of leprosy was a foreigner, a Samaritan. Jesus praised this foreigner for his gratitude to Jesus for healing him along with the other nine, who were Jews like Jesus but showed no gratitude. In Jesus' Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, He lifts up a foreigner as an example for His Jewish listeners to follow!
Live among the people of the world without compromising the standards God has for us. Jesus prayed for His followers in His High Priestly prayer in John 17, "I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." Jesus does not intend for us to withdraw from the culture around us with the result that we lose our voice for Him in the world. At the same time, He does acknowledge the danger of the evil one, described in Ephesians 2 as "the prince of the power of the air."