Mark – God is on our side!
A few years back, we attended a conference where a well known pastor spoke in break out sessions as well as being a keynote. We highly respected this man’s ability to speak, as did many others. We got there early to try to get in the room where he would be presenting. The room was crowded with ministry people from all over the world.
Max Lucado walked in the room with a hearty, “Good Morning, Saints” to which all enthusiastically responded, “Good Morning!” In the same breath, without missing a beat, he shouted, “Good Morning, Sinners!” It took the room by surprise. Some said good morning while others just mumbled. The response was not as cheerful while minds were reeling, wondering where he was going with this.
He related that he would often address his congregation this way so all would realize, with gratitude, that we are all sinners saved only by the grace of God. Mark relates a similar story of the actions of Jesus who reminds the religious elite why he came to earth. Jesus tells them clearly of the mission God sent him on to seek and to save lost people.
Read and meditate deeply on Jesus words,
“I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Mark 2, NLT
Jesus Calls Levi (Matthew)
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 soon became evident that Jesus was deliberately associating Himself with the outcasts of Jewish society. He even called a tax collector to become one of His disciples! We do not know that Levi was a dishonest man, though most of the tax collectors were, but the fact that he worked for Herod Antipas and the Romans was enough to disgrace him among loyal Jews.
However, when Jesus called him, Levi did not argue or delay. He got up and followed Jesus, even though he knew that Rome would never give him back his job. He burned his bridges (“And he left everything behind”—Luke 5:28 nasb), received a new name (“Matthew, the gift of God”), and enthusiastically invited some of his “sinner” friends to meet the Lord Jesus. These were Jewish people like himself who did not follow the law or appear to have much interest in things religious. It was exactly the kind of people Jesus wanted to reach.
Of course, the critics had to be there, but our Lord used their questions to teach the guests about Himself and the spiritual work He came to do. Jesus had already made it clear that He came to convert the sinners, not to compliment the self-righteous.
Salvation from sin involves much more than a person knowing about Christ, or even having “good feelings” toward Christ. Salvation comes when the sinner commits himself or herself to Jesus Christ and says, “I do!” Then the believer immediately enters into the joys of this spiritual marriage relationship: bearing His name, sharing His wealth and power, enjoying His love and protection, and one day living in His glorious home in heaven. When you are “married to Christ,” life becomes a wedding feast, in spite of trials and difficulties.
Ah, but we are getting ahead of our text. More about this tomorrow!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Hallowed and Holy is Your Name. May Your Kingdom come and reign in and through us. May Your Will be done in every detail of life today. Give us this day all we need to please you and worship you with all that is in us. Lead us not into temptations to think we are more righteous than others just because we bear you Name and believe in You. We are sinners saved by your work on the cross for our sin. No more, no less. Deliver us from evil that whispers and taunts us to step back into the sins that you brought us out of for good. Thank you for your power working in us. To you be all glory, honor and praise.
In Jesus Name, Amen. I do. I believe.