And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” – Matthew 9:10-11
Have you ever been in a situation where you were very confident in something you believed, and then someone whom you held in high regard caused you to have second thoughts? Your comfort zone was challenged, and you may have started to question what you had previously thought was absolutely black and white.
I suspect we’ve all been there at some time, and it can really shake us up.
Jesus didn’t think twice about calling Matthew the tax collector to be his disciple. He knew Matthew’s heart and the work he had been doing. Of course, the religious authorities of that day were offended that this upstart was associating with people of ill repute (i.e., “sinners”). Jesus was really rocking the boat.
Jesus was questioning the norms of that day and those in exalted positions of authority. He demonstrated by his actions that these sinners were okay people to eat and fellowship with. He loved them and all people regardless of their status in this world. He even came to save those who refused to believe in Him.
Jesus time and again clearly spoke that His purpose was to save sinners such as you and me. He responded to the Pharisees’ self-righteousness by saying, “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” (Matthew 9:12-13).
Prayer: Father, give us loving, non-judgmental hearts that look at other people through your perfect eyes. Use us to share how much you love them and want all of us to live eternally with you.
Contributed by Ron Merritt
Read Matthew 9 and record any insights you gain here.
Call to Connection
Reflect on the times in your life you’ve felt like the world is against you. Write a verse about God being for you on a sticky note and put it somewhere visible.