SPENDING TIME WITH THOSE WHO NEED JESUS
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “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 9:9-13
Who does Jesus choose and call? Those who understand they are sinners. Those who think they are righteous or alright already; they will not acknowledge their need to be saved. Called sinners will understand they are sinners and follow. It is a challenge to us to see who Jesus spent time with. In the passage above Matthew, when he started to follow Jesus, had a dinner at his house and invited his friends. Jesus was there along with Matthews colleagues— tax collectors and sinners. Wow, what a description of those attending this dinner. Not only was Jesus there, but His disciples were there as well! He was teaching them, modeling for them, that He cares for these people— people that society wasn’t too fond of.
How sad a question the Pharisees asked Jesus’ disciples— “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” These religious leaders were not at all concerned for the salvation of those at this dinner. No, they even questioned why Jesus was there! He made it clear as He said— “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.” Jesus extended mercy and sacrifice” toward these people. The religious leaders did not.
How are we calling people to follow Jesus? Who are we presently or have presently encouraged to follow Jesus? Do we have a concern for people as Jesus did/does? When He called us, He said, “Come, follow me… and I will send you out to fish for people.” Done any fishing lately? Or is your net or line still dry? When was the last time they were wet? Those following Jesus are meant to be fishing for men. This is what He sent us out to do. May we be faithful in doing so. Yes, let us spend time with sinners who do not know Jesus. Let us not forget that we were once lost sinners and Jesus sent someone following Him to us that we could hear the good news and be saved. Let us be those bringing the good news to others! Dear Father, may this be so by the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. Please “send out workers into (Your) harvest field” — including myself. So may it be! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEhRucEVzH8