Many of the “religious” folks at the time of Jesus were scandalized that he would associate with people who were viewed as unholy or undesirable. Mark’s Gospel tells us that, “While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus heard this and said to them, ‘Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.’” (NAB, MK 2”15-17) The religious leaders failed to see their own sinfulness and so also did not recognize the need for a savior; their judgmental view of the world blinded them from the truth.
When we are able to recognize ourselves as sinners, grace opens our eyes to see that we are the sick to whom the Son of God came to save. Jesus wants to sit and eat with us. He calls us to the Lamb’s Supper as he calls us to conversion, and we need not be afraid or embarrassed. The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely healing.” (HEB 4:14-16) God is calling us today, just as he called Matthew and all of his disciples; “Come, follow me.” Jesus calls us to conversion, to recognize that we are in need of healing because of our sins, and then to receive his grace, that grace we need to change our lives and live in constant pursuit of holiness. Jesus calls us to himself. Let us answer that call.
Jesus, I hear your call. I know that I am a sinner. I know that I need the healing that only comes from you. Forgive me. Give me the wisdom to see my sins and defects, the heart to be truly sorry, the courage to confess all that I’ve done, the heart to receive your love, mercy, and grace, and the determination and strength to live in that same grace, according to your Law and Covenant of Love. Amen.