“I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” - Mark 2:17b
What a comforting verse! I may have been a Christian my entire life, but I’d be lying if I claimed to not still struggle with sin. We all do. It’s the human condition. As long as we remain here on this earth, perfection is unattainable. No matter how hard we try, sin remains.
But Jesus sees past our transgressions. He sees past our failures, our wrongs, our sin, and sees who we truly are.
In this passage, he calls a tax collector, a rather hated profession in that day (and possibly still today), to follow him. He shares a table with those who the religious elite consider sinners. In doing so, he shows both them and us that he cares about one thing above all else - above statutes or public opinion, above politics or apparent righteousness: he cares about the heart.
These people didn’t have to fix themselves for Jesus to eat with them - he met them where they were. He came to heal those who needed him - and he continues to do so today. There is nothing you need to do to be worthy enough of Jesus and nothing you can do to solve your problem with sin. Jesus, the good doctor, comes to you. He comes to you in your brokenness, your shame, your uncertainty, or even just your everyday life. He comes to you and shares the gift of himself for free.
There is also an example in the passage for us to follow. Jesus shows that sometimes what people need is not another sermon or lecture, it's just a good meal.
Evangelism can be a scary word. I know I shrink at the sight of it. But what I’ve found to be the easiest way to share about Jesus with others is to share life with them, to meet their needs, to love them - even if they don’t love Jesus. We love because he first loved us. Preaching the gospel is not what everyone is called to do, but we are all called to love one another.
Jesus called Levi, ate with sinners, and he calls you too. We don’t know how many of those sinners repented and followed Jesus, but we do know that Levi left his home and became one of his twelve apostles. Jesus calls you to the table, to his house, and to follow him, just like Levi did all those years ago.
Dear Lord, thank you for loving me even in my sin. Help me to love others as you have loved me, and to follow you this day and all others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.