Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
This portion is from David Guzik’s commentary on Matthew 9:
Many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him: We are fortunate that God calls sinners, not just “saints.” Jesus came to benefit those who understood their inherit need for Him (those who are sick, the poor in spirit, Matthew 5:3), but the proud who see no need for Jesus (Those who are well) benefit nothing from Jesus.
i. It isn’t our sin that keeps us from coming to Jesus, but our pride that refuses to acknowledge our need before Him.
I thought this was really insightful! Jesus accepted tax collectors and the rejects of Israeli society. He called the lowest and healed the sickest (and the dead – and you can’t get much lower than that). He sought out the people who were sinful and who needed forgiveness and love. He didn’t seek out the people who were clean and pretty and proper.
I know it’s easy to think that if I’ve made mistakes that Jesus couldn’t possibly want or allow me in His presence. But that’s not how He operated when He was here. He knows my need for forgiveness and is eager for my black and sinful self to come to Him for help. It’s my pride that keeps me from coming. It’s not easy to admit I’m wrong, and it’s hard to look at the things I’ve done that I know are wrong. And Satan doesn’t help the matter because he loves to rub all that in and puff up our pride to think we don’t need forgiveness.
It’s encouraging to know that Jesus didn’t keep company that was all pristine and pretty. He wasn’t afraid of getting dirty, and He loved the people that needed Him the most. I’m incredibly thankful that Jesus wasn’t afraid to stoop down and love me and forgive me, despite the messes I’ve made in my life.