Yesterday, Jesus invited one of the biggest outcasts in town to follow him. Today, Jesus parties with the man and his outcast friends, causing the religious leaders to question his religionishness:
Matthew held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them, for there were many who followed him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to the disciples, “Why do you and your teacher eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus answered them, “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)
Let’s look at our 2 BIG Questions:
Who exactly is Jesus?
He’s the Great Physician. He came for those honest and humble enough to admit that they’re spiritually sick and dying and in need of a savior. Over and over, the outcasts Jesus encounters do exactly that. Over and over the religious leaders do not.
The plain and simple fact is that we are 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.
What exactly should we do?
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 / Oleksandr Rozdobudko)