Friend Of Sinners

An astonishing choice! Jesus calls a tax-collector to be one of His twelve disciples. He calls him right out of his work station!

Tax men were despised. Collaborators, traitors who sold out their country and their faith for Roman money!

But Matthew just walks off the job to follow Jesus! A celebratory dinner party follows with a bunch of other tax-collectors and sinners!

Wow! The Teacher is not behaving like the typical religious leaders of the day. Such intimate fellowship with sinners – simply unthinkable!

Jesus is somehow guilty by association! This Teacher is condoning their lifestyle and further encouraging their wrong-headed ideas!

His answer …for I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance!

The religious leaders didn’t get it. Matthew certainly did. So did the other sinners at his dinner party.

There is something about Jesus that communicates – You don’t have to be good enough to be in my presence. I love you just the way you are, but I love you too much to leave you that way!

Who am I in this story? At the party or on the outside looking in!

Students of the Teacher know something is horribly wrong when Christians give the impression their fellowship is reserved for people who are somehow good enough.

We learn from Jesus’ example to be exceedingly careful not to give an impression that we and Jesus are friends, but you can only be in this circle when and if you become good like us.

No, if Jesus is our friend it is because like Matthew and his bunch, we know who we are.

Our hope for a changed life is in our ongoing relationship with this Teacher – this friend of sinners.

1 comment:

  1. We all have sinned. We all need grace.

    When it come to physical ailments, eternal ailments are much weightier.

    This is made evident by Jesus on many occasions:

    "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where theives break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” Matt 6:19-20

    “Do not be afraid of the one who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both body and soul in hell.” Matt 10:28

    So when Jesus meets the paralytic, what does he do? He first heals his spiritual ailment – He forgives his sins. So he can show that he has authority to do this, he also heals the man of his physical ailments.

    Not only is Jesus a friend of sinners, as Denny so importantly pointed out. He also is the forgiver of sins, our Savior: able to heal the spiritual ailments of us all.

    Praise the Lord, O my soul;
    All my inmost being praise his holy name.
    Praise the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits –
    Who forgives all your sins
    And heals all your diseases,
    Who redeems your life from the pit
    And crowns you with love and compassion,
    Who satisfies your desires with good things
    So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
    The Lord works righteousness
    And justice for all the oppressed.
    Psalms 103:1-6