“On hearing this, Jesus said, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.' ” (Matthew 9:12-13)
Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners, so the Pharisees were condemning Him with their words. The Pharisees were experts in the law. They knew scripture well, but their pride and their desire to maintain their status in society created a system based on extreme legalism rather than faith. Faith in the God of Abraham became a religion that was unattainable. Although the Pharisees themselves could not uphold the law, they could uphold appearances, and their hearts were far from the Lord. Jewish society was split into "haves" and "have-nots." Jesus came to reach those who had lost hope.
Why try to meet a standard that is impossible to attain? Why try if you are destined to fail? Many don't come to church because they feel they are unworthy to come through the doors. Someone in their past may have condemned them or their lifestyle. They may be ravaged by guilt and unable to come to terms with who they are because they do not know who Jesus is and why He died for us. We carry the same message that Jesus did, and maybe it's time for us to dine with tax collectors and sinners. Maybe it is time for us to take the Gospel of Grace to those who have lost hope; to those who feel there is no way to leave their lives of sin. One of the totems of New Hope is that we are gracious in all of our dealings. This totem comes from the heart of Jesus in this passage. Every one of us was a sinner, a tax collector, or a lost soul. Someone came to us when we were sick and offered healing. We are in a season of revival. We are in a season where many are being saved. It's time to reach out to the person who is like us with the Gospel of grace.
Lord Jesus, use me to reach the lost. Use me to speak to the sinners and tax collectors of today. Use me to deliver the message you were trying to deliver so many years ago. Use me to show your love and eternal grace to those who have lost hope. Use be to bring a new hope to the community. In Jesus's name, amen.