Irvin Wasswa– Tylertown Campus Pastor LHBC
9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
You have probably seen the signs before. You know what I am talking about; the picketed signs which have messages which disparage homosexuals and those who follow other religions. Those who hold the signs belong to a group which claim Christianity and spread the good news but at the same time by their demeanor and countenance, display a message contradictory to the Gospel. The message which they hope hits the heart, “Repent or Perish,” ends up being a message of hate which pushes the lost and broken even further away from the truth. Most of the time those who hold the signs and have the megaphones do not care for the people, they only care about the message they are trying to convey to them.
The message of the Gospel is a message that offends, yes, but it is ultimately the message of hope! The message is for the broken, the lowly, and ultimately the message is hope for the hopeless! Hallelujah! As a child of God we carry this message and are
called to be hope for the hopeless. That is exactly who Jesus was here in Matthew 9. He just finished healing a paralytic man and his next task in ministry was calling a man by the name of Matthew to become one of his next disciples. Now you have got to understand, in the culture of the day tax collectors were seen as the scum of the earth. They cheated many out of their money and became rich from taking advantage of many people. Jesus would have been looked down upon for hanging out with them, but he chooses to fellowship with them anyway. In verses 10-11 we see he and his disciples reclining with some of Matthew’s friends (I.e., Hanging out with Tax Collectors and Sinners)which drew some pushback. Jesus’ response to the criticism is amazing and what we cannot miss: The sick are the ones who need a physician; I came to call the sinners to repentance. What a strong word. In spite of the pushback and judgment from the religious people, Jesus chose to establish relationships with the tax collectors and sinners because he loved them.
Listen, Jesus fellowshipping with the lost showed how much he truly cared for them. He didn’t see them as just subjects who needed to be manipulated into believing something; rather he saw them as people, broken and hopeless in need of the hope which he provided. His love for them is what motivated him to have a relationship with them and engage in conversation with them. Listen, those tax collectors and sinners were more than just people who had “sin cooties,” they were people made in the image of God whom he cared about, who were sick and needed a cure.
Hey friend, we too are called to have the same love and care for the lost as Jesus had. If we are not careful, we can find ourselves living up in this “ivory tower” of life, looking down on the broken and hopeless, spewing condemnation instead of engaging them in conversation, loving them as God loves them, and sharing the truth of the Gospel with them. When is the last time you have had a conversation with a lost person, in which you sought to get to know them and be their friend? Aren’t you glad that Jesus came down from heaven to die on that ol’ rugged cross to pay for your sin and my sin? He didn’t stay in an ivory tower but came down to earth to die because of his love for us (John 3:16-17). May we choose to model the example of Jesus and be hope to the hopeless!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Dear Heavenly Father Lord, thank you for your love for me! Thank you for setting the example for how to be hope to the hopeless. Help me to have a heart to engage with the lost and share the gospel out of my love for them. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.