9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.
10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Matthew 9:9-13
I was talking on the phone with my girlfriend early this morning and she was laughing at the wide variety of friends that I have and have had during a course of a lifetime. I had been sharing with her about my most favorite Aunt in the whole wide world. She laughed and told me that she was once shocked to hear who I had befriended over the years, know their past and still love them and be a pastor's wife. I love this friend and when we first became friends, she led a totally different life than she does now. She had thought that she had managed to hide this side of herself from me and was surprised when she found out that I had known the truth the whole time. But the Lord had shown me her value long before she realized it herself. You see, Jesus loved my girlfriend long before she ever knew him.
This section of Matthew shows a side of Jesus that a lot of people don't know. Jesus and his disciples hung out with the tax collectors and sinners. He knew who they were and what they did but he loved them. It was the Pharisees that were all "judging" Jesus for hanging out and eating with the party crowd or the less desirable! The Pharisees were sure to point it out and asked, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
I love Jesus's response when he had heard what the Pharisees were asking, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Jesus didn't disqualify anyone! He came for everyone, he loved everyone. Jesus knew very well who and what those people did...just like he knows me, what I do and what I have done. He desires mercy. He desires for you to know Him, so much so that He will come right where you are and hang with you.
Jesus just didn't hang out in the synagogues all the time in a suit and tie (shocker, he didn't own one or even invent the pinstripe suit). He went to the people where ever they were and what ever they were doing. Jesus didn't come just for the "together" people or the "church" people, He came for everyone, He came for us, He came for you and me. He didn't disqualify anyone from following Him then or now! He will take anybody regardless of their past or present. All you have to do is tell Him that you love Him and that you are sorry for what you have done. Jesus is the real deal. You do not have to wait to have it all together to start fresh with Jesus. He already knows.
I want to be like Jesus. I want to be able to love everyone, where ever they are in their lives. That means sometimes you might be surprised at whom I am friends with and if that offends you, then you will have to talk with Jesus about that :) BTW did you know that Jesus's closest twelve friends had a past when He called them? Pretty awesome, Jesus set the example.
Hanging with Jesus,