“And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at His disciples, saying, Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” (Luke 5:30).
Jesus deals with any person
The episode in Luke 5:27-32 teaches us heaps about Jesus and the difference between him and the Pharisees. Jesus only needed to say one word, and the tax collector who was addressed got up and followed him.
He was a very unlikely person to want to follow Jesus, because he earned lots of money with his tax collecting job. Jesus’ words had authority! And he was also an unlikely person to be chosen by Jesus, because tax collectors were notorious for their corruption: part of the money they collected, usually disappeared into their own pockets. Plus, they were seen as traitors because they consented to work for the enemy, the Romans, who controlled Israel at the time.
But it seems Jesus can use any person.
Jesus looks at the sinner with love
When Levi the tax collector throws a party, Jesus accepts the invitation. He is willing to rub shoulders with any person. How different is He from the Pharisees, who are scandalized by Jesus’ behavior!
They ask his disciples, “Why does Jesus eat with tax collectors and sinners?” What do you expect Jesus to say at this point? His reply to the Pharisees is not: “These people are actually fine, you know, they aren’t as sinful as you make them out to be.” Jesus does nothing to contradict the Pharisees’ diagnosis. Yes, these people are sinners. They do suffer from spiritual sickness. But then Jesus reveals how He differs from the Pharisees: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32).
Jesus is there also for you!
Jesus does not reject anybody. But when He enters into your life, He will change it.
Notice that He said: sinners to repentance. In this respect, Jesus is actually much more frightening than the Pharisees were. Because when He walks by and you care to listen to Him, your life might be totally turned upside down! When you will follow Him in his footsteps, you will not be able to continue walking in sin. Jesus says to you: “Follow Me.” What is your response? Will you get up and let your life be changed by Him? It is the best thing that can happen to you. He alone is able to really change your life, and change it for the best.
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