9As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. 10And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.13Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” 14Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” 15And Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made. 17Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:9-17, NRSV)
Why does Jesus eat and spend time with tax collectors and sinners?
I first wonder about this statement, because tax collectors are listed separately from sinners, so are they also sinners and just a special class or are they bad for another reason. And Jesus says that those who are well do not need to go to the doctor. Meaning the places we gather for worship should be filled with sinners. (Hint – they really are!) You see someone who is well doesn’t seek out the one who can heal, but those who need healing seek out the one to heal. We should be open to everyone being a part of our worship gatherings. Because the perfect don’t need to be there, but then there isn’t anyone who is perfect!
So who do you welcome in worship?