Did you know that Jesus was less fond of religious people than He was of 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, the downtrodden, the hurting, and the lost, and He wants to show them what it looks like to live in His Kingdom.
One of the boldest things the Savior 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 an equal. This is why kings would dine away from the “commoners” and people of different classes would be segregated at meals. How shocking, then, that this miracle-worker, who was very clearly from God and was a conduit of His divine power, was blatantly doing things He wasn’t supposed to do. It bewildered the Pharisees then and it still confuses “religious” people today. Even the Lord’s disciples were stunned at the radical acceptance their Rabbi had for transgressors, especially when they approached to find Him talking with a Samaritan woman who had been married five times (John 4). And yet, such was the life-altering, world-changing ministry of Jesus Christ!
Friend, the most blessed life is a humble life. Jesus didn’t inherently dislike religious people; the problem was that (for the most part) they did not possess humility of heart that enabled them to see their need for a Savior. On the contrary, those who were outcast by society for their bad behavior had no problem admitting to their “issues” because they were already known for them. Since they were forced to own their sin day after day, bringing it to the Lord wasn’t a problem; they were who they were. Like them, I encourage you to take ownership of your humanity and live in the reality of your imperfections and struggles. As tempting as it is to pretend to be better than you are, you will never encounter Jesus in that place. Sit at the table with Him and let it all hang out; He welcomes you there, and that’s good news!