Wednesday, December 3, 2014

calling sinners

And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Mark 2:15-17

Jesus calls sinners to come to Him for salvation. He does so today, but the way that He did so while in His earthly ministry was controversial. Jesus was with sinners. He ate with them. They traveled with Him. He lived His life and preached the good news of His kingdom and spent His time with tax collectors (liars, cheaters, extortionists) and sinners. And they were attracted to Him. A measure of His ministry was the crowd of sinners surrounding Jesus who were attracted to His message and His ministry.

Jesus confronted the self-righteous who took offense at this style of service. He was very straight forward with them. Jesus told them emphatically that He was deliberately calling these "sinners" to be with Him and to hear and respond to His message. He is a Savior Who loves sinners. He loved sinners and reached out to them like a doctor must reach out to the sick. Sinners need a Savior. Just as sick people are in a doctor's office, perhaps sinners need to be in church! Jesus is their Savior too!

Given that my Lord and Master based His public ministry on the call to many sinners, I have to look at my own efforts to serve Him. Why then is my ministry surrounded by "the righteous" more than "sinners"? I am ashamed to not be more like Jesus in this regard. I confess that I am more like a scribe of the Pharisees than Jesus. I pray to Jesus now, asking that He would appeal to sinners through me, that He would love sinners in my actions and speech as I serve Him. I am asking that He would help me not to be a Pharisee, but to be a friend of sinners as He is and call them to the gospel as He does.

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