READ Matthew 9:9-13
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the toll booth, and he said to him, “Follow me,” and he got up and followed him. While he was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came to eat with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Now when he heard this, he said, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jesus often surrounded Himself with sinners. He hung out with them. He never sinned, or did the things they did that were sinful, but He spent time with them. He taught them. He shared life with them.
The religious leaders did not like that. They thought that if Jesus really was who He said He was, He wouldn’t be caught dead with those people! But Jesus had a lesson for the religious leaders (and us).
“Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jesus didn’t come to hang out with people who already knew Him and believed. He came to heal the sick, not the healthy. This doesn’t mean that Jesus didn’t associate at all with those who believed, He had plenty of disciples who followed Him around for three years. No, Jesus was making a point for the religious leaders to care more about steadfast love, rather than rituals and religious ceremonies. Jesus wanted the religious leaders to love and care for those sinners they felt so strongly that Jesus shouldn’t associate with.
Take some time today and evaluate who you associate with. Do you ever put yourself in situations where you can share the love of Jesus with people who are considered sinners and not worthy?