Jesus ate dinner at Matthew’s house. Many tax collectors and others with bad reputations came and ate with him and his followers. The Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with these people. They asked his followers, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and other sinners?” Jesus heard them say this. So he said to them, “It is the sick people who need a doctor, not those who are healthy. You need to go and learn what this Scripture means: ‘I don’t want animal sacrifices; I want you to show kindness to people.’ I did not come to invite good people. I came to invite sinners.”
In Jesus’ time, tax collectors were viewed as traitors, Jews who had turned against their own people to help the Romans with their continued oppression. So Jesus calling Matthew a tax collector was a big deal. Tax collectors often became rich by overtaxing the Jews and taking the money for themselves. Tax collectors were reviled by the Jews. They weren’t welcome anywhere or by anyone. Not only did calling Matthew not go over well with the other disciples, it definitely did not go over well with the Pharisees.
Scriptures says “while he was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came as guests to eat with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But what I love so much about this story, and about Jesus, is that He doesn’t care about their objections. He knows how tax collectors are viewed by others. He knows that spending time with sinners is the unpopular choice. He’s not interested in any of this; He’s only interested in their souls.
I love His response to them: He said, ‘Those who are well do not need a doctor, but those who are sick do. As we look at this story and Jesus’ response, we would do well to apply it to our own life. Right now in our world, there is a lot of political and social unrest. People are letting their differences, from race, gender, sexuality, political affiliation, religious beliefs, or more, divide us as a people. Have you ever wondered what would happen if we stopped focusing on what makes us different and start focusing on what we have in common? What if we looked at others through the eyes of Jesus? What a world of difference we could make!
My Declaration And Confession: God, thank You for recreating me in Christ Jesus. Help me today to see others through the eyes of Jesus and empower me to bring them to Christ the greatest physician. I refuse to be a hindrance to other people’s salvation.
Ignite Thought: Genuine salvation makes us bridges to salvation, not judges of sinners!