|Painting by Sieger Koder|
"Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
How many times have I read the second chapter of the Gospel of Mark and thought about the power and wisdom of God to put those smug, judgmental scribes and Pharisees in their place. And certainly Jesus does this. At the same time he recognizes the humanity of the "sinner" and emphasizes God's love for that sinner.
And how easily we relate to that sinner, saying "God loves me. God calls me. God cares for me." And how quickly we can become smug and judgmental of those worthless scribes and Pharisees.
The truth is we are not always the "sinners" eating dinner with Jesus, but Pharisees complaining about His relationship with the crippled, unclean and unlovable. Search your heart with God's help and you will see.
I am struck when Jesus says, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick," because the Pharisees and scribes should have been the doctors who brought about healing. Yet their "cure" was to create distance, to confuse the sick person with the disease itself! Yet Christ came to heal them (and us) too.
Lord Christ, we are all sick and in need of healing. Let us come to You as Levi did. You called him; he came. Simple as that. May we also open ourselves and our homes to You, and receive healing. So be it.