Sitting With Sinners
And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples—for there were many who followed him.
When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
~ Mark 2:15-17
Every Sunday Norma would come to church with her children. She read her Bible, prayed and would volunteer, but her husband never was at her side. The reason being, most likely he was in the local bar. Gene was an alcoholic. Norma never gave up her hope that God would answer her prayers for his salvation. Many years later after all their children were grown, she was still attending church, praying, and hoping.
So there was Norma praying, while Gene was in the bar drinking. All seemed hopeless, but God heard Norma’s prayers. Instead of waiting for Gene to come to Him, God when to Gene. Right there in that bar, God spoke to his heart. Gene could not ignore His voice, so he bowed his head and prayed asking Jesus to forgive his sins, and come into his life. He put his drink down, got up, walked out of the bar, and never returned again.
After that, Gene was right by Norma’s side in church. He was a shining example of someone lifted by God’s love, and Norma’s face was the face of pure joy and gratitude.
Jesus sat with the tax collectors and the sinners, and God showed me with Gene, He still does the same thing today. Jesus set the example, and we as His ambassadors, should follow in His footsteps.
I believe, at times, we are afraid of what it would look like if someone saw us socializing with sinners. We are fearful of how it would look to others. Jesus did not let that stop Him from His ministry, even though the scribes and the Pharisees were indignantly asking the disciples why He was doing this. The answer Jesus gave should help us to think, how will those who need to come to repentance, ever hear the truth, if we only sit with Christians; how will they hear if we stay in our safe little pew at church?
Our great commission is that we are to go into the whole world, and spread God’s message. God may not ask us to go to another country, but maybe our foreign mission field is right in our neighbor’s yard. When we request Jesus to accompany us, we need not fear, as we sit with the sinners and tell His story.
Dear Jesus, Thank you for meeting with us while we were sinners. Help us to follow in your footsteps by spreading your good news to all. Amen
~ Jenny Calvert