While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Him and his disciples, for there were many who followed Him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw Him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:15-17
I can visualize this group of people, the outcasts, the despised, the lost, who are dining with Jesus. To the religious elite, the ones who knew the law by heart, and taught others to obey it, this group with Jesus was not tolerated or accepted. If the righteous leaders refused to sit with them, and discuss their spiritual condition, who would be willing to?
I am so glad Jesus told the religious teachers that just like sick people need a doctor, spiritually sick people need Him. Those were the ones He came for. He didn’t come for those who were religious, He came for sinners. In fact the people who knew the law so well had the hardest time accepting Jesus.
Would we recognize Jesus back in this time? He was eating with sinners, and insulting the religious leaders who had the law, but not the love? He went against the standards established by rituals. He healed on the Sabbath, He touched the unclean lepers, He picked grain on the Sabbath, He didn’t ceremonially wash before He ate, and He did many other things, like hang out with the undesirables.
If we are too self righteous, we too will miss seeing the power of God displayed in the places we would least expect it. The greater the problem the greater our God! Jesus came to save sinners, and the mission field is still there. If we want to be ambassadors for Christ, we need to represent Him to sinners, tax collectors, outcasts of society. They are the ones in need of Jesus!
I think of Jesus, when He knelt down to clean the feet of His disciples. God’s own Son, serving others, washing dirty feet. I think of the story where He gets down to write in the sand, when others accuse a woman of adultery, and He tells the people that if there is someone without sin, to cast the first stone. They all left, and Jesus forgave her, and told her to go and sin no more. There are more stories of Jesus and dirt, like when He spit in the mud, made a poultice for a blind man’s eyes. Jesus is not afraid of the dirt! Jesus is my hero! Who else could I call on to save me, a sinner? I needed the good Doctor!
Thank you Jesus for everything you’ve done, and for being willing to save sinners like me!