“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. 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 9:9-13 ESV)” A man is known by the company he keeps.” If this is true, then what must we think of Jesus? In this story we see Him with the outcasts of society—the tax collectors and other unnamed “sinners.” And Jesus is comfortable with them! What’s worse, they seem to be comfortable with Him! How can this be, if Jesus is a holy man?
Jesus is holy, but He is a healer first. Doctors go where the sick people are; they are not surprised or disgusted by their problems. In the same way, Jesus comes to us, no matter how sick with sin we are. He is not surprised and He is not disgusted. Instead, He reaches out to make us well again. He takes our sin and brokenness upon Himself, and in exchange, He gives us His own life, holiness, and joy. He takes our cross and gives us a share in His resurrection.
Prayer: How wonderful You are, O Lord! Amen.
* Who do you feel most comfortable with—respectable people or disreputable people?
* Why do you think you feel that way?
* What effect do you think Jesus’ visit had on Matthew’s friends?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on February 27, 2023
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved