“While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners'” (Mark 2:15-17).
Jesus had no problems hanging out and eating with sinners and tax collectors. Sinners and tax collectors, prostitutes and thieves were exactly who Jesus sought out.
Jesus didn’t seek out sinners and tax collectors so that Jesus can be inclusive, tolerant, and welcoming.
That was not why Jesus came. That was not why Jesus would die on the cross and rise again on the third day.
Jesus hung out and ate with sinners and tax collectors so that he could call them to repentance so he can save them!
If we miss this, we miss the entire point of the gospel.
- The gospel is good news because God rescues us from our sins.
- The gospel is good news because God doesn’t leave us in our sins.
- The gospel is good news because God transforms us from sinners to children of God.
Church, all sinners – sinners of all types, sinners of all flavors – are welcome to the church because God welcomes all sinners to repent and be saved from our sins. But don’t confuse God’s welcome of sinners with God’s acceptance of sins. Jesus died for our sins.
The reason why we have a place in God’s kingdom is because God received sinners like you and me in order to rescue us from sin.
That’s why he is our Savior.
Thanks be to God!