13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
How many times have you read this verse? Me? I’ve it a hundred times or more. Every time I read the verse I always use the pronoun THEM. “Jesus ate with them (the sinners) and so should we.” “Jesus went them (the sinners) and so should we.” “Our mission is to reach them with the Gospel.”
Yesterday I had an eye opening experience. Reading this passage with the pronoun THEM or THEY really created an air of elitism. I am better than them. I am so good in fact that Jesus doesn’t have to eat with me. Wait? That is where my eyes were opened. The THEM is actually ME. Jesus came to ME, the sinner.
If he didn’t come to me then I have no hope. If I have no hope of dining with Jesus then I have a greater problem.
Jesus, friend of sinners. Friend to you and friend to me.
Even though I am not tax collector I am a sinner (Probably much worse than being a tax collector). Jesus came to dine with me. Jesus came to share himself with me. He came to share himself with you too.
This eye opening experience came to me when I was reading a post be Ann Voskamp yesterday. In this post she talks about her summer of heart failure. It is a great story. Sad, difficult, but great. I recommend you read it. You will probably cry (fair warning).