We’re attempting to answer the question What exactly are Christians supposed to do? by looking at commands straight from the mouth of Jesus.
Jesus invited Matthew — a tax collector and one of the biggest outcasts in town — to follow him. In response, Matthew threw a big party and invited a bunch of not-so-religious-y folks. That prompted this question from the religious leaders:
Why do you and your teacher eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?
Here’s how Jesus responded:
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
(Matthew 9:10-13; Mark 2:15-17; Luke 5:29-32)
We’re ALL sinners. You. Me. Your pastor. My pastor. The pope. The president. Everyone. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) If Jesus hadn’t hung out with sinners he would have hung out with nobody.
The religious leaders completely missed the point of Jesus’ mission. They were into religious rituals instead of real repentance. As we discussed here, Jesus came for the poor, the imprisoned, the blind and the oppressed. He desires mercy, not sacrifice.
Recognize that you’re spiritually sick and come to Jesus for healing. Then throw a big bash, invite everyone you know — even sinners like yourself — and introduce ’em to Jesus.
(Image credit: Shutterstock.com / klublu)