13 Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him.
14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector's booth.
"Follow me and be my disciple," Jesus said to him.
So Levi got up and followed him.
15 Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests,
along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners.
(There were many people of this kind among Jesus' followers.)
16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples,
"Why does he eat with such scum?"
17 When Jesus heard this, he told them,
"Healthy people don't need a doctor—sick people do.
I have come to call not those who think they are righteous,
but those who know they are sinners."
It is interesting that Mark mentions that there were many such “notorious sinners” who ere around Him.
Sinners were thought to “defile” the people who followed the law closed.
So righteous people didn't hang out with “sinners”.
But Jesus was different (understatement!) - these “sinners” actually wanted to be around Him.
There must have been something in the quality of Jesus' treatment of “sinners” that made them want to be around Him – & not just as a casual acquaintance, but as someone who they followed, focused on, & listened to.
We move around in much the same kind of world – filled w/ “notorious sinners”.
Is there something about the quality of our lives that makes “sinners” want to hang out with us?
We live in a time in America when Christians are not known as people to hang out with.
We're known as people who judge, not as people who love.
The word that a lot of people think of in regards to Christians (among the few I can print!) is that we're just plain mean.
I wonder, when we were checking God out & feeling drawn to Him, if we would have continued to consider moving toward a connection with Him if we had been treated in the mean & judging way that seems to be the correct approach toward “sinners” by many Christians here in America.
We are called to love people.
How can we love someone & judge them at the same time?
How can we care so much about someone & be mean to them simultaneously?
Maybe we should ask ourselves what it was in Jesus' behavior & attitude toward these people that made them want to be around Him – a desire that went against the correct social behavior or standard practice of the religious people of the day.
And maybe we should allow Jesus to morph us more into His way of thinking & being.