There’s a story about a pastor who came to town and decided to give his new congregation a living parable.
As the story goes…
He dressed up as a homeless man and walked around the church for 30 minutes while people were arriving for the service. Hardly anyone looked at him and fewer spoke to him . . . until he went to sit in the front of the sanctuary and the ushers approached him and asked him to please sit in the back.
Whether the story is true or not, it makes a point doesn’t it?
There are people who feel like they need to “clean up” before they will be welcomed by Jesus because people who call themselves His followers have made them feel like they need to “clean up” before they will be welcomed by them.
That’s the message of Jesus’ call to Matthew in Luke 5.
People hated the tax collector. Pharisees called him “scum.”
Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?”Luke 5:29–30
But Jesus said…
“I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”Luke 5:31
He came to call sinners because we are ALL SINNERS!
We all need to repent. We need Jesus to “clean up” our acts.
And like Matthew (Levi) we have His invitation…
“Follow me and be my disciple.”Luke 5:27
An invitation to repent and receive forgiveness, to spend time with Him and experience His love.
A Prayer to Thank Jesus for
Wanting to Spend Time with Sinners
Jesus, thank you for showing us the Father’s love for sinners. A love so great that He sent You to spend time with us, suffer and die for us. You won the victory over sin, death, and the power of satan through Your death and resurrection, so I can be clean.
It makes my heart sad when I think of all You experienced because of my sin. I am so very sorry. Please forgive me. Please give me all I need to “clean up” my life and live in ways that bring You glory. Not for me, but for You, Lord Jesus.
I don’t want people to see that I am good or “righteous.” I want them to see You in me. I want them to want to know You because they know me.
Jesus, thank you for wanting to spend time with me on my good days and on my less than good days. Your grace and mercy give me everything I need. I pray that You will guide me and help me spend my time in ways that show You how very much I love You. Help me love the way You love. Amen.
For those of us who have followed Jesus and been part of a church family for a long time . . . it can be easy to expect everyone to think and act a certain way. It can be easy to judge the people who are still being “cleaned up” by Jesus.
But that’s really all of us.
In church or out, we are all sinners who need to spend time with Jesus.
You and I are sinners called to follow Jesus . . . to love others and let them know that He wants them to follow Him, too.
On today’s note write:
I am a sinner with whom Jesus wants to spend time.
May the Lord bless you today as you spend time with Jesus and celebrate the truth of His love.
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