Jesus hung out with a strange crowd for someone who made claims to be the son of God. One’s expectation would be that, since God is holy, he would only want to be around people who have their act together spiritually.
Not so. Not even close, actually.
The Son of God most loved to hang out with people who did not have their act together. People like tax collectors who were best known as government-sponsored rip-off artists, and sinners so notorious that they couldn’t hide the fact from anyone — those were Jesus’ dinner partners.
“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” (Mark 2:15, NIV).
When Jesus overheard the religious people of his day questioning his disciples about this, he told them plainly that these were the very people he had actually come to be with. These spiritually-broken people are the people he had come to serve and heal.
“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'” (Mark 2:17, NIV).
The real problem is not that you don’t have your act together.
No one does.
The actual damage is done when you refuse to recognize (or simply fail to realize) that you don’t have it all together. Arrogant denial was the hallmark of those religious folk — the teachers of the law and the Pharisees — who never really got what Jesus was about. Jesus’ harshest words were reserved for people like this.
Jesus came for hopeless sinners. People who carry a lot of guilt. Those who are ashamed of the things they’ve done. Men and women who feel like they just can’t stick on a godly path in life because, try as they might, they’re constantly sliding off the path. Folks who feel weak and burdened, beaten down and alone.
Broken people like me and broken people like you.
Our reading for Monday, February 16, is Exodus 19:1 – 20:26, Mark 1:29 – 2:17, and Psalm 22:12-21.
Jesus, thank you for coming to heal me from my sins. I do not have my act together. I need you. I ask for your forgiveness for my sins against you and others. I ask for your Spirit’s strength to change and make those changes stick so I can have the same heart you have.
Header image based on "The Sinner in Me" by Johnston, CC By 2.0