Our scripture this morning is Luke 5:27-32.
After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Jesus continues choosing His disciples, calling Levi (also known as Matthew) to follow Him. The religious leaders were dismayed by this, asking Jesus why He would associate with such people, much less include them in His inner circle. Jesus answers them, saying “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (v. 32).
This statement must have surprised and confused them because sinners and others deemed “unclean” were shunned in that culture. Jesus teaches us to care for those who are left behind by society, sharing God’s love with them and using our gifts to heal and include them. We show our love for Him by tending to the last, the least and the lost.
How is God calling us to continue this today? We must ask for guidance and work individually as His servants as well as together as His church. We need to remember we are all sinners forgiven by His mercy and saved by His sacrifice for us.
Gracious God, we are sorry for our selfishness and petty exclusion of our brothers and sisters. Help us to be Your love and light in a dark time. Amen.