“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’”
– Luke 15:1,2
Last month I did a sermon on Jesus’ Eating Ministry. Today, I want to explore that further. Did you know that Jesus was less fond of religious people than He was those who lived completely immoral lives? In fact, He preached more often to the pastors of His day (aka the Pharisees) about hell and condemnation than He ever did to the sinners. Our Lord loves the broken, downtrodden, and the hurting. He wants to show them what it looks like to live in His Kingdom.
One of the boldest things Jesus ever did was to sit down and eat with tax collectors and sinners, because in His day, to eat with a person was to call them your equal. How “shocking” that this miracle-worker who was a conduit of His divine power, was blatantly doing things He wasn’t supposed to. It bewildered the Pharisees then and it still confuses “religious” people today. And yet, such was the life-altering ministry of Jesus Christ!
Friend, the most blessed life is a humble life! Jesus didn’t inherently dislike religious people, but in general, they did not possess a humility of heart that enabled them to see their need for a Savior. Those outcast by society for their sins had no problem admitting their “issues” because they were already known for them. Bringing their bad behavior to the Lord wasn’t an issue. Like them, I encourage you to understand your human nature and to live in your struggle. As tempting as it is to pretend to be better than you are, you will never encounter Jesus in that place. He welcomes you to his table with your sins!
Jesus, thank you for welcoming me to your table in the midst of my sin and struggles. I embrace your friendship today.
In this story, do you identify with the Pharisees or with the sinners dining with the Savior? Why?
If you’re unable to attend your local church or need some additional weekly inspiration, be sure to tune into Hour of Power every Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. PT on TBN or watch online at hourofpower.org/episode.