“…Christ Receiveth Sinful Men!”(Mt.9:9-13).
During his earthly days the Lord Jesus Christ was a social person with a carefree attitude. He asked Matthew the tax collector at his tax booth to follow him and no sooner had Matthew accepted to follow him, he had dinner in Matthew’s house.
Among those who ate with him were “many tax collectors and ‘sinners.'” In their usual spirit the hypocritical and jealoused Pharisees asked Jesus’ disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
This question is still being raised today by the saved who are righteous in their own eyes! The tax collectors were a hated and despised people because of their profession. It is not as if there was anything wrong in collecting taxes. The problem was that they worked for Rome (the subjugator) and they often extorted the people. As such they were seen as traitors (blacklegs)!
Jesus overheard their question and replied,“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 is not saying that the Pharisees are already righteous and do not stand in need of salvation. Rather he is saying that only those who recognise their spiritual paucity can be saved. Those who are righteous in their own eyes cannot be saved. Of such people Jesus says,“If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains”(Jn.9:41).
Truly dear friend, those who think they are standing firm must be careful that they do not fall(I Cor.10:12).
We are not called to become a kind of “Qumran community” seperating ourselves from all others because we think we are the righteous ones.
Just as Jesus ate and drank with the sinners, we too are called to go back to where we once were and proclaim the goodnews to those who are still there so that they too may join us where we are now. For this is where Jesus wants us all to be.
Weekend prayer: Lord Jesus inspire us to be social persons with carefree attitudes so as to bring the goodnews to those who stand in need of it. Amen!
Have a blessed weekend! Peace be with you!
Rev Babila Fochang.