I wince everytime I say the word.
Especially in connection with Jesus.
Yet as I read the birth stories about Jesus.
I can not help but conclude that although the world may be tilted toward the rich and powerful.
God, hallelujah in His mercy, is still on the side of the Underdog!”
“Underdog” by Audio Adrenaline
The Bible is a missionary book revealing God’s plan of redemption in history through Jesus Christ. The theme of Kingdom is woven throughout the Old and New Testament. “The Bible tells this story of an advancing Kingdom, the mission of the triune God: providing redemption, finding the lost, and then using them to mediate kingdom blessings to those yet lost.” The Old Testament reveals the failures of Israel and the futility of the human race to live for God until Jesus Christ comes to break the power of sin in the believer’s life. Throughout Scripture we see the world is for the favorite, the rich and powerful; but God is on the side of the underdog. This paper will summarize God’s mission in history according to Scripture with particular emphasis on his treatment of the marginalized of society. He is the God of the outcast. The praxis portion will deal with my personal testimony and mission to reach the castaways—believing that God uses unlikely people, in overlooked places, to do extraordinary things. Many times God’s champions are the ones with the odds stacked against them, the foolish, the weak, the lowly, the ones expected to lose—the underdogs.
The Bible can be divided up into three sections: primeval history, Genesis 1-11; God’s dealings with Abraham and his descendants, Genesis 12-Acts 1; and the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost to the New Heavens and New Earth, Act 2- Revelation 21. The first section is described as the universal section. The Bible begins with creation. “The creation of the world initiates history, the human struggle, and the salvific adventure of Yahweh.” God created the world and Adam and Eve, the progenitors of the human race, and placed them in the Garden of Eden. They were created in the image of God and “installed as his vicegerent over all creation with a mandate to control and rule it on behalf of its maker.” God gave them the freedom to obey or disobey His one command. “The primeval paradise was characterized by beauty, utility, and the moral test symbolized by the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ (Gen. 2:16-17) that was forbidden to Adam and Eve.” The command was not to eat of the fruit of this tree or they would surely die. Adam and Eve succumbed to Satan’s temptation and rebelled against God by eating the forbidden fruit. Sin entered the world because Adam and Eve doubted the trustworthiness of God’s character and chose independence from God, which led to direct disobedience. Adam and Eve were judged and expelled from the Garden.
The situation seemed bleak but there was a glimmer of hope in God’s judgment of the Serpent. God tells the serpent “And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel.” The Septuagint renders “the seed” as a singular, masculine pronoun. This foreshadows the coming of Jesus into the world to destroy the works of the devil. Scholars describe this as the “protoevengelium, the first glimmer of the gospel.” After Adam and Eve eat of the forbidden tree they attempt to hide from God. God comes into the garden and asks Adam, “Where are you?” This same theme is echoed in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, who came to “seek and save the lost.” From Genesis 3 to the end of the book of Revelation we see the pursuit of a loving God to redeem lost people.
Genesis 3-11 develops humankind’s decent into abject wickedness. God sends a universal deluge, which destroys the human race except for righteous Noah and his family. This section concludes with the scattering of the people at the Tower of Babel. “There is as sense in which the Creation story is the first element of the Christian gospel. It is ‘good news’ to find personal identity in the fact that one is created by God.” As Creator God, He alone is the rightful King of heaven and earth.
Section two includes Genesis 12 through Acts 1. This section deals specifically with Abraham and his descendants, the liberation of the Hebrews from Egyptian captivity, the Kingdom of Israel, and the coming of King Jesus into the world to free his people from sin and death. After a series of human failures, God calls one man, Abraham, into relationship with Him and promises that through him “all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
Abraham is called the father of all who believe in Romans 4. His faith was tested and tried. At age seventy-five he is given the promise that he would become a great nation, having many descendants. At the time Abraham had no children and Sarah was barren. It is not until twenty five years later when Abraham and Sarah were beyond the child bearing age that the promise is fulfilled. Then, when Abraham is ninety-nine years old, the Lord appears and repeats the promise that he would have many descendants. He tells Abraham a son will be born to Sarah and kings would be among their offspring.
At this point the fulfillment of this promise is impossible and laughable. In fact, Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” Nine months later Isaac, the son of the promise, is born. God likes to wait until the fulfillment of promises are impossible from a human perspective. This makes it impossible for people to take credit for the fulfillment of God’s promises. This is a common theme throughout Scripture. There is always a process between when promise is given and its fulfillment. During the process one learns to trust the God of the promise despite outward circumstances.
The Bible is not silent about the shortcomings and trials of the patriarchs and other people of faith. Hebrews 11 is commonly referred to as the Hall of Faith because it lists the heroes of the faith in the Old Testament. Sixteen people are listed in the chapter by name. Included in this list are liars, adulterers, a prostitute, a murderer, a barren woman, a convict, and a man consumed by fear. These believers, “whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle,” and performed mighty exploits. The heroes of the faith were not without weaknesses nor did they begin mighty in battle. They were taken through a divine process where their weaknesses were turned to strengths and they became mighty. Abraham lied by saying that Sarah was his wife to save his own skin. Isaac follows in his father’s footsteps, fearing for his own safety, he said his wife is his sister. Also, Isaac showed favoritism to Esau over Jacob, which caused severe problems in the family. Jacob was a deceiver, who tricked his father Isaac out of the blessing and his brother, Esau, out of his birthright. It is encouraging for believers today to see that God used these imperfect vessels to accomplish his will.
God raised up Joseph, a former convict and slave, to become the second in command of Egypt. Through his position he saved the lives of his family, so the nations could be blessed through the line of Abraham. However, after Joseph dies, the Egyptians enslave the Israelites. The people cry out to God. He answers and comes “down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” God shows compassion for his captive people in Egypt and calls Moses to be the deliverer. When God wants to do something on the earth, He raises up a man or woman to do the job. God’s plan is men and women of faith. According to E.M. Bounds,
“What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Spirit can use… The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods but through men. He does not come on machinery but on men. He does not anoint plans but men…
Natural ability and educational advantages do not figure as factors in this matter; but capacity for faith, the ability to pray, the power of thorough consecration, the ability of self-littleness, an absolute losing of one’s self in God’s glory and an ever-present and insatiable yearning and seeking after all the fullness of God-men who can set the Church ablaze for God; not in a noisy showy way, but with an intense and quiet heat that melts and moves everything for God. God can work wonders if He can get suitable men.”
God’s chosen instrument to bring deliverance to his captive people was Moses. Moses was born into a Hebrew family but through divine intervention is adopted into the house of Pharaoh as a baby. He grows up as a prince in Egypt and got the best education available at the time— trained at the Harvard and West Point of his day. “Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and deeds.” His adopted grandfather, Pharaoh, was considered a god. He was a member of the most powerful family in the most powerful nation of his day. At age forty Moses chooses to be identified with his captive people and knows he is called to set them free. In fact Moses looks like the deliverer; however, God sees a proud, self-sufficient man who needs to have complete dependence upon God. In his zeal to bring justice to his people, he kills an Egyptian. The penalty for killing an Egyptian is death. Pharaoh finds out and tries to kill Moses, so he flees as a fugitive to the desert. He spent the next 40 years on the backside of the desert caring for sheep and goats. This was a humbling situation for Moses, as the Egyptians despise shepherds. God used the next forty years to work out humility in the life of Moses. “God reserves the greatest victories for the vessels that have known the greatest brokenness.” God’s priority in the lives of his people is fruitfulness rather than comfort. Through the prophet Isaiah God said, “See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” This time in the desert was Moses’ furnace of affliction and training ground.
Many times God delays His promises and uses desert experiences to prepare His man/ woman for the greatest victory of their lives. After forty years on the backside of the desert, Moses’ dream of being a mighty deliverer had died. Now eighty years old, Moses was not much to look at from a human perspective. After the dream to be a mighty deliverer was not only unlikely but dead, God looks down and sees potential in this underdog. Out of obscurity arises Moses—God’s champion. God uses Moses and by mighty signs and wonders he delivers the Hebrews from captivity. God intervenes in history to preserve the people from whom the Messiah would come.
God chooses the unlikely and unqualified because then he alone gets the glory. Sometimes God’s heroes have gone through much pain in preparation for their call. In his classic work, The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer states, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.” God’s raising up the outcast is a common theme throughout scripture— for example: Joseph, the prisoner; Rahab, the prostitute; Jephthah the son of a prostitute. God is not necessarily interested in increasing our giftings and abilities to the point where we are fit for the task to which He has called us. He is more interested in getting His servants to the point where they realize their own lack and inability to do what He has called them to do. When Moses was great in his own eyes, God could not use him. However, after forty years of preparation in the “furnace of affliction” Moses comes to an end of himself. Now he is ready.
After the death of Moses, Joshua leads the Hebrews into the Promised Land, Canaan. The Hebrews follow God wholeheartedly and begin to conquer the land. However, after the death of Joshua the Israelites fall away from God and are beaten down by their enemies. There is a predictable cyclical pattern in the book of Judges— the nation serving God; they do evil; they are defeated by their enemies; slavery; idolatry; cried out to God; judges are raised up; God delivers His people; and then, the nation serves God. God raises up deliverers during this time to set liberate his people from the hands of their enemies. During the life of the deliverer, the Israelites follow after God; however, when he or she dies they fall back into sin and idolatry. God raised up many unlikely heroes throughout the book of Judges—i.e; a woman prophetess named Deborah, fearful Gideon, and Jephthah, the son of a prostitute and outcast from his people.
In Judges 10-11 we see the story of the underdog, Jephthah. The Israelites once again did evil in the sight of the Lord and worshipped false gods, so God turned them over to their enemies to oppress them for eighteen years. Finally, things get so bad the Israelites call a prayer meeting and cry out to God, “We have sinned against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals.” They turned away from their idolatry and asked the Lord to rescue them. God used Jephthah to deliver the Israelites out of the hands of their enemies, the Ammonites. Jephthah became a mighty warrior despite or possibly because of tremendous obstacles. His father is Gilead but his mother is a prostitute. Jephthah’s brothers told him he had no part with them or inheritance in his father’s estate because he was the son of another woman, a prostitute. “So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a gang of scoundrels gathered around him and followed him.” The Israelites plead with him to come back and help them. They make him commander and chief and Jephthah and his band of outsiders lead the Israelites into victory over their oppressors. Jephthah is another unlikely hero whom God raised up in his mission to bring blessing to the nations through Jesus Christ.
A Murderer and Adulterer
Then God raised up David to take Saul’s place as king of Israel. David is the youngest son of his father Jesse and the unlikely candidate to be king. In fact, when the prophet Samuel comes to the house of Jesse to choose one of his sons as the next king, David is not even invited to take part in the decision. After Samuel goes through all the older and more kingly type of brothers, not one of them is God’s choice. But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” The young, ruddy shepherd boy is chosen as the next king of Israel. However, before he becomes king he goes through many years of tribulation as a fugitive on the run for his life from king Saul. During his time as a fugitive he found refuge in the cave of Adullam, where “all who were down on their luck came around—losers and vagrants and misfits of all sorts.” These outcasts later became David’s Mighty Men who performed mighty exploits in the name of Jehovah.
Later in life David commits adultery and kills the husband of Bathsheba because she becomes pregnant. David is recieved by God because he repents and turns fully to God with a broken spirit and a contrite heart. David is called a man after God’s own heart. Despite his inadequacy and failures, David establishes the kingdom of Israel and God promises to establish his throne forever. This promise is fulfilled in the coming of the greatest Son of David, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The promised Messiah and King of heaven and earth did not enter earth in pomp and grandeur. The gospel of Luke portrays the humble surroundings associated with the birth of Jesus. In Luke’s portrayal of the birth of Jesus attention is given to Mary and the shepherds who were told by angels that the Messiah was born. The emphasis upon a woman and despised shepherds would have shocked the reader of that day. The account of Jesus’ humble birth is consistent with the rest of Luke’s gospel. “For the focus is on those who were least expected to be recipients of God’s salvation: the powerless, the poor, the sinners and the outcasts.” Another example of the emphasis on the social outcasts and the powerless is apparent when contrasting the Beatitudes of Mathew and Luke. Mathew’s gospel declares, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit.” However, Luke states, “Blessed are you who are poor.” For Luke, the message of Jesus focuses on the economically and socially poor. The first century society regarded the rich as those blessed by God while the poor were supposedly outside of God’s favor. Jesus included those who were excluded by society.
Jesus begins His ministry by quoting Isaiah 61:1-2, which expresses that His ministry would include the poor, the prisoner, the blind and the oppressed. Jesus entered the synagogue in Nazareth, the city where he was raised, and stood up to read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He deliberately found a specific passage and proclaimed, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Jesus touched the leper and paralytic. He ate with tax collectors and sinners. He offered the free gift of salvation to those who were least expected to receive divine favor—a sinful woman, a tax collector, and a thief that died next to him on the cross. “The world of the 1st century, like the world of the 21st century, based its security on certain things: human commodities, social status, family and ethnic ties, power and human accomplishment. Jesus challenged the human tendency to find security in such things.” Reliance on wealth and social status is the problem. Some wealthy and powerful people were also followers of Jesus. The Lord’s offer of forgiveness and salvation was for all regardless of their social or economic status.
Defense of the Gospel to the Outcast
In Luke 15 Jesus offers a defense of His gospel to the outcast. This follows after the parable of the Great Banquet in Luke 14:15-24 which speaks of the entrance of the outcasts into the kingdom and the exclusion of the religious elite. In Luke 15:1-2, the religious leaders of the day ridiculed Jesus because He sat down to eat with the outcasts of society. They said, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Table fellowship is a serious matter anywhere in the world and this is especially true in the Middle East. To invite someone to a meal was a great honor. “It was an offer of peace, trust, brotherhood, and forgiveness; in short, sharing a meal meant sharing life.” In the East at this time, much like today, a nobleman may pay to feed the poor and hungry but he would not sit down to eat with them. The religious leaders were scandalized by the fact that Jesus sat down to eat with blatantly immoral people. The religious leaders thought, “If He (Jesus) is who He claims to be, he would be with us instead of these scoundrels because we are the religious leaders of this community.” Jesus shares three parables in response to the complaints of the Pharisees: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the gracious father. “Jesus underscores the joy of finding something precious that has been lost.” Jesus attracts sinners while the Pharisees are too self-righteous to associate with them. According to Luke 19:10, Jesus came to seek and save those who are lost.
In the first two parables, Jesus uses the examples of a shepherd and a woman— two of the second class citizens of the day. “Together the three parables form a tightly knit unit with a single, strongly Lukan theme—God’s love for outcasts and sinners.”
The first parable deals with a shepherd who lost a sheep. In the Old Testament the figure of a shepherd was a noble symbol. Moses and King David were shepherds and God is considered a shepherd in Psalm 23. However, in the 1st century Jewish society shepherds were part of a proscribed trade. They were considered unclean. “For the Pharisee, a ‘sinner’ was either an immoral person who did not keep the law or a person engaged in one of the proscribed trades, among which was herding sheep.” Jesus addressed the parable to the Pharisees and states, “Which one of you?” This would have been offensive to the Pharisees to be referred to as a shepherd. Jesus points out that a shepherd will search for a lost sheep until he finds it. The lost sheep of Israel are being found. The second parable deals with a woman who loses a coin in her house. The village woman searches diligently until she finds the coin. Again there is much rejoicing over the lost coin that is found. Jesus intimates that the Pharisees should rejoice that lost sinners are found. In both cases there is much rejoicing just as there is much joy in heaven over one sinner who repents.
The third parable is about a loving father and two lost sons. The younger son asks for his inheritance and the father grants his request. The younger son converts his inheritance into cash and heads for a distant land. Once there he squanders all his money in reckless living. Then a famine comes to the land and the young Jewish boy is forced to work for a Gentile who sends him to feed swine. The boy comes to his senses, repents, and goes back to his father. The father receives the prodigal son back and restores him to full sonship. However, the older brother is vehemently objects to his father’s love toward his outcast brother. Unlike the other parables this one ends with the older son outside the house refusing to rejoice in the lost that has been found. Jesus uses this parable as a defense of his ministry to the outcasts as well as an invitation for the grumbling Pharisees, like the older brother, to join in the celebration for the lost that has been found.
A Promiscuous Woman
Jesus again seeks out the outcast and marginalized in His dealings with the Samaritan woman in John 4:1-42. The text states that Jesus found it necessary to pass through Samaria on His way from Judea to Galilee. The route through Samaria was usually avoided by the Jews in order to avoid contact with the Samaritans rejects. Samaritans were despised half breeds to the Jews. Samaritans were the offspring of the tribes resettled in the northern kingdom after the sacking of Samaria by the Assyrians.
Jesus disregards the racial and religious prejudice of the Jews by going through Samaria. Jesus deliberately went through Samaria and stopped to rest at Jacob’s well about noon, while the disciples went into town to buy food. Jesus knew that He would find the marginalized going for water at noon and this was part of the divine agenda. This was the hottest part of the day in the Mediterranean world and only those wishing to avoid people would come for water at that time.
A Samaritan woman comes to fetch water while Jesus is there. Jesus breaks through cultural barriers and Jewish custom to offer forgiveness and life to this woman. “Not only did the Jews avoid contact with the Samaritans but Jewish men avoided speaking with women in public—even their own wives!” Jesus not only speaks with the woman but also asks her to draw him a drink of water. Jews would not share the same dishes with Samaritans. The woman is surprised at Jesus request. Jesus then carries on a conversation with her delving in to deeper theological truths and the thirst of her soul for God. Jesus first related her need for water to the ethics of her sexual behavior. Some people today think that Christianity should stick with a message of salvation but stay out of moral and ethical issues of one’s personal life. This is not the pattern we see in the life of Christ. He deals with the tragic nature of her sinful life with compassion. Jesus understand that this woman is a victim of her circumstances. She had been married five times and was now living with a man outside of marriage. In this culture a man could divorce his wife for almost any reason. She had been used and abused by men all her life. But now Jesus comes on the scene and reveals himself as the Messiah to this marginalized woman.
Jesus reveals His identity as the Messiah to the Samaritan woman as he never revealed himself to the Jews until the last moments. This outcast leaves her water jar and runs to the town to tell the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” The Samaritans came and asked Jesus to stay with them. He stayed there two days. Many Samaritans believed in Jesus as the Savior of the World. The first convert in Samaria is a woman. Interestingly, another woman named Lydia is the first documented convert in Europe. Jesus not only revealed himself to this Samaritan woman with a checkered past but used her to bring salvation to an entire village.
Thug Becomes a Church Planter
God humbles the lofty and raises the lowly—saving both. However, the emphasis of this paper is on God reaching and using the outcasts of society. My passion for the marginalized of society stems from my personal battle with an intravenous heroin addiction, involvement with street gangs, drug trafficking and many years in prison. After hitting rock bottom several times, I finally surrendered my life to Christ. When everyone had given up on me, the Lord came to my rescue. After the Lord met me in prison, He began to speak to me about an army He will raise up out of the prisons of the world to preach the unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ with boldness and power. Vincent Vangogh, the post-impressionist artist, had applied to be an evangelist among poor and depraved coal miners. Vangogh said, “One of the roots or foundations not only of the Gospel, but of the whole Bible is, ‘Light that rises in the darkness.’ From darkness to light. Well, who will need this most, who will have ears for it? Experience has taught that those who walk in darkness, in the centre of the earth, like the miners in the black coal mines, are very much impressed by the words of the Gospel, and believe it too.” Those who have been marginalized by society but have encountered the Savior of the world are less likely to be intimidated by the culture or state. Truly he that is forgiven much— loves much.
Every believer has been brought out of darkness into the light of Christ and is commanded to go back and share the good news with those still lost. “The concluding commission of Mathew 28:16-20 places the Christian mission firmly within an eschatological framework: mission is the church’s primary task between Christ’s first coming and his return.” Our only reason for being in this “already and not yet” time period is to make Christ known. In western Christianity many are more concerned more about their family, career, comfort, and hobbies then reaching the masses of lost and dying humanity that they see every day. This is not the model for Christianity that we see in the New Testament. The priority for the church and theology is mission. There is much work to be done in the Lord vineyard.
My specific calling is to go back to the prisons and streets to bring hope to those who find themselves in the same predicament I once was. My passion is for the prisoner, criminal, prostitute, drug addict, gang member and other marginalized groups that are sometimes overlooked by the church. Since my arrival in Springfield over four years ago, I have been preaching regularly at the local jails and prisons. Last year over three hundred male convicts surrendered their lives to Christ in my services. God is on the move. Lamentably, many who receive Christ while incarcerated end up falling away once they are released. There are many obstacles for a released convict. Many lose hope and give up—going back to their old lives.
I am planning on starting Hope Homes this year in north Springfield, Missouri. These discipleship homes will help men and women recently released from prison or out of life controlling addictions to live as fully devoted Christ-followers. This will be a nine month residential program. The homes will teach spiritual disciplines, life skills, work ethic, and Biblical studies. It is my firm believe that God can not only save and transform these outcasts; but also, He will use them to turn the world upside down. This is more than a rehab, it is a spiritual boot camp. I will partner with the local Assemblies of God district and City Reach Network out of Pittsburgh. Following the establishment of the discipleship homes, my wife and I and team will launch the first City Reach Network church in Missouri to reach the ones far from God.
The mission of God is to seek and find the lost. Many times the ones that are most receptive to the good news are the outcasts of society. God uses the foolish and poor of this world to do great things in accomplishing the Missio Dei. When God works throught the outcast and marginalized, He alone gets the glory. Proper orthopraxy (i.e. ministry to prisoners, addicts, the poor, and other marginalized groups) should and will flow out of an orthodox Christology. Know and believe who Jesus is and then do what Jesus did.
 John V. York, Missions in the Age of the Spirit (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 2000), Kindle location 272.
 Gustavo Gutiérrez, A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation, ed. Sister Caridad Inda and John Eagleson (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1988), 154.
 Andreas J. Köstenberger and Peter T. O’Brien, Salvation to the Ends of the Earth: a Biblical Theology of Mission (Downers Grove, IL: Apollos / Inter-Varsity Press, 2001), 26.
 Arthur F. Glasser with Charles E. Van Engen, Dean S. Gilliland, and Shawn B. Redford, Announcing the Kingdom: the Story of God’s Mission in the Bible (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2003), 39.
 Genesis 3:15 (NASB).
 Glasser, 41.
 Köstenberger, 27.
 Genesis 3:8 (NIV).
 Luke 19:10 (NIV).
 Glasser , 34.
 Genesis 3:15 (NASV).
 Hebrew 11:34 (NIV).
 Exodus 3:8 (NIV).
 E. M. Bounds, The Complete Works of E. M. Bounds: Power through Prayer, Prayer and Praying Men, the Essentials of Prayer, the Necessity of Prayer, the Possibilities… Purpose in Prayer, the Weapon of Prayer (London: Wilder Publications, 2009), Kindle location 14498.
 Acts 7:22 (NIV).
 Bob Sorge, The Fire of Delayed Answers: Are You Waiting for Your Prayers to Be Answered? (Kansas City: Oasis House, 1996). 121.
 Isaiah 48:10 (NIV)
 Judges 10:10 (NIV).
 Judges 11:3 (NIV).
 I Samuel 16:7 (NLT).
 1 Samuel 22:2 (Message).
 Richard Thompson “The Social Outcast in Luke’s Gospel,” Master Tool Kit, December -February 2015, 68, accessed March 15, 2015, http://www.mastertoolkit.com/vcmedia/2375/2375512.pdf.
 Mathew 6:20 (NIV).
 Luke 6:20 (NIV).
 Luke 4:18-19 (NIV).
 Thompson, 68-69.
 Luke 15:2 (NIV).
 Kenneth E. Bailey, Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2008), 143.
 W. Gundmann. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Volume II) (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Pub Co, 1964), 57.
 S.W. Lemke, “The Academic Use of Gospel Harmonies,” In Holman Christian Standard Bible: Harmony of the Gospels (2007): 139.
 Robert H. Stein, Luke (Volume 24) (Nashville, TN: Holman Reference, 1993), 400.
 Bailey, 147.
 Luke 15:4 (NIV).
 Gerald L. Borchert, John 1-11 (Volume 25A) (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996), 202.
 John 4:30 (NIV).
 Acts 16:14 (NIV).
 Irving Stone and Jean Stone, eds., Dear Theo (Garden City, New York: Signet, 1969), 32-33.
 Andreas J. Köstenberger and Peter T. O’Brien, Salvation to the Ends of the Earth: a Biblical Theology of Mission (Downers Grove, IL: Apollos / Inter-Varsity Press, 2001), 108.