“And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:10-13
As I was reading this story, I was hammered by God’s conviction in my life. The rhythm of Jesus’ life (the life I am saved to be conformed to!) included not only Christians, but those who were not. Jesus and his disciples regularly mixed it up with those who were clearly lost – “tax collectors and sinners”. And not only did they position their lives to include sinners, but it is evident that these sinners wanted to come eat with Jesus and his guys. Jesus truly was a friend of sinners.
There were three things God challenged me with when reading this:
1. Do I have a heart like Jesus, truly loving those who are lost and wanting them to be healed… or are they just a “salvation project”?
2. Does my regular rhythm of life include friends who do not yet know Jesus?
3. Do those who don’t know Jesus even want to hang out with me and/or my small group?
My prayer this week is that we would be a friend of sinners, loving and inviting those who do not know Jesus into our lives, that they too may know Jesus and be healed.
I love you guys. Press on!