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.
I am very glad that Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners. For I have learned that I am one of them. Jesus deigns to spend his time with the likes of me. God is at work in the cosmos and in my life (and in your life, too). Like Eugene Peterson says in his new book Practicing the Resurrection, I just have to be receptive to God. I have to learn to receive. If we’re under the delusion that we are holier than we are, we falsely believe that we don’t need the amount of grace we do, and then we do not receive it because we do not ask for it. Of course, God does pour out a measure of grace on us even when we do not ask for it because those of us in Christ are his sons and daughters (and he even sends rain and good things to those who do not care for him or acknowledge him). We must ask our Father for the grace to become like him. That is a prayer he answers.
How freeing it is to trust him, even when we can’t understand what is going on. How I need Jesus every moment! Growing up, I was continually let down by those important to me. It’s hard learning how to trust. But God is showing himself to be trustworthy. Many are the reasons that the Lord of the universe should not give me the time of day. I am a sinner. However, I am beyond grateful that his action and his love for me is not dependent on my worthiness but on his lavish love, goodness, and grace. The same is true for you this day and every day.
Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.