13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
15 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. 16 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?”
17 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 2:13-17
Jesus was a friend to sinners. He knew that all have fallen short of the glory of God. Jesus had a love for the lost. He died for these and for each one of us, so that we might be redeemed of our sins and purified in the eyes of God.
When those who don’t know Jesus Christ are in the midst of their sin, they are lost. The lost are ignorant as to what Jesus Christ is expecting of them. Correcting their sin and expecting them to behave as the righteous do is putting the cart before the horse. One will be convicted of sin as he is changed from the inside out, through knowing Jesus Christ. We gently teach with love and compassion, those who are coming to know Jesus; we should assume that they will make many mistakes.
This doesn’t mean that we gloss over sin itself and make sin “okay.” Sin is not productive, right, or in anyone’s benefit. We must never make sin okay, but in focusing intently on the sin within the sinner, we reject and push away one who might find Jesus, as we once did when lost in our own sin.
There is a time to preach and rebuke sin to the sinner and that time is when we see even an inkling of a desire to live a life holy before God. A sinner who has accepted Jesus Christ will want to please God and stop sinning. He will reach out for help in order to try and do this, then our teaching, preaching, and rebuking will welcomed and appropriate — if we do it in love.
Rejecting sinners and condemning them before they have even had a chance to find Jesus Christ seems to me a sin in and of itself. Jesus handled the sinner in this more appropriate way:
(For the mobile viewer, click HERE)
Jesus was merciful, compassionate, loving, and judgmental after the fact, if anything. He did not condemn with hatred or angst. He did not accuse, judge, and assassinate the character of someone because of their sin. He did not reject anyone. Jesus would have abhorred behavior that exhibits bigotry and hatred toward another. He would have been disgusted by self righteousness, such as that exhibited by the Pharisees, who were the woman in the film’s accusers.
- Boy Scout Ban on GLBT Children (lifeofafemalebiblewarrior.wordpress.com)
- Friend of Sinners (joequatronejr.wordpress.com)
- In the Right Place, at the Right Time! (work4christ.wordpress.com)
- Above Reproach (godcanhealit.wordpress.com)
- Matthew 5-7: Sermon on the Mount / Does Jesus Expect us to be Perfect? (cutpaste.typepad.com)
- Commentary On The Gospel Of Mark Chapter 2:15-16 (studyoftheword.com)