Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Mark 2:16 NABRE
Jesus’ popularity is growing with many people following Him and His disciples. Jesus calls another man to be a disciple, Levi, a tax collector. Tax collectors are considered sinful people for associating with and working for the oppressive Roman regime, they collect taxes and extort extra money from the Hebrew community. Jesus associates with sinful people in order to have influence over them, bringing them back to God fully. After inviting Levi to be a disciple, they go to his house and have a meal. The meal is visited by many other tax collectors and sinners. A good Jew will not eat with sinners, it risks their becoming impure and unable to attend temple or synagogue. Jesus understands these rules concerning purity as attending to a person’s exterior in the hopes that a clean person is fully clean. But, Jesus also knows it is not what is on the outside of a person that corrupts but what is in a person’s heart. Jesus dines with tax collectors and sinners to lead them to conversion. But for the religious leaders, who develop the purity rituals, dinner with sinners means becoming like them. Jesus wants everyone to become like him and therefore sits and visits with anyone anywhere, particularly those who need Him the most. Jesus’ responds to the Pharisee saying, those who are well do not need a physical, He has come to be a healer to the sinner, guiding them to internal purity.
Like Jesus we must befriend those who do not know the freedom and love that comes from being a His follower. If Jesus has freed us, we must be like Him and share this freedom.
Who do you associate with? Are you influencing those who need Jesus?
Like Jesus we must befriend those who do not know the freedom and love that comes from being a His follower. If Jesus has freed us, we must be like Him and share this freedom. Click To Tweet
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