Zig Ziglar tells a story about inviting a friend to church. The friend said, “I’m not going to any church, they’re all just a bunch of hypocrites.” And Zig responded, “Well, c’mon down then – there’s always room for one more.”
And so those same lawyers who complained about Jesus healing the sick and forgiving sins are now complaining about His dinner companions.
It all started when Jesus saw Levi, a tax collector, sitting at his booth. Jesus simply said, “follow me”, and Levi left his booth and followed Him. Jesus had dinner at Levi’s house, apparently with a lot of Levi’s friends, who were generally known to be “sinners”. Tax collectors, then as today, were not liked much.
The lawyers asked Jesus’ disciples why Jesus was hanging out with tax collectors and sinners. I guess the teachers of the law weren’t very evangelical back then. We can be that way sometimes… but I’ll get back to that. Jesus had such a logical, sensible, and even compassionate response that escapes many of us today: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
It bothers me sometimes when people think this way today. I’ve caught myself doing it, too. An ad on a Chrstian radio station asks, “wouldn’t you rather work with like-minded people in a Christian environment?” They actually advocate giving up your ‘secular’ job to use their ‘Christian’ job web site so you won’t have to endure working with non-Christians. If we believers aren’t eating with ‘tax collectors and sinners’, who will be saved?
Jesus’ whole purpose was to “call sinners” (Mark 2:17Mark 2:17
English: World English Bible - WEB
17 When Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
WP-Bible plugin). He knew exactly what His job was, and He was our example. So, like Levi, you’re called to follow Jesus – and by extension, you’re called to minister to the spiritually sick. And you do that by being salt and light in your job, in your school, in your clubs, and when your eating out, on vacation and posting blogs.
Become a doctor of spiritual health, then go hang out with some sick people.
Jesus teaches accumulating crowd by the lake; calls Levi (Matthew), a tax collector, to follow Him. Pharisees are offended that Jesus would dine with ‘sinners’. Jesus responds that He came to call sinners to repentance – not the righteous.
- Jesus teaches at the river, calls Levi (Matthew) to discipleship
- Pharisees condemn Jesus for dining with ‘sinners’
- Jesus responds, “it is not the healthy who need a doctor…”
Levi called to discipleship; Jesus ministers to sinners
To cause the audience to see their own sin and turn to Jesus Christ for forgiveness