‘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?”’ (v16) Mark 2:13–17
Jesus walked the Holy Land with a simple call, ‘Come! Follow me’. A variety of individuals responded. I wonder how many declined His invitation?
The call was for anyone, and it still is today. If ever there was an equitable society, it is God’s kingdom because the only membership criterion is acknowledging one’s sinfulness, which infects us all. No wonder some were shocked at who they saw Jesus associating with.
Matthew was a tax collector. For the Jews under Roman rule he was a ‘quisling’, a traitor collaborating with an occupying army. He was also an offence to the religious leaders of the day. So how could a moral religious teacher associate with sinners? But that’s the point!
God has made sinners His special interest. That’s the good news. For each disciple, following Jesus demanded a complete change of direction.
Perhaps many of us today are not called away from our chosen profession, although we are told to hold lightly to it and its benefits. We accept an invitation to go where God leads and live serving His interests first and foremost.
Like those first disciples our natural assumptions and preferences are disturbed as we struggle with how to live by faith alone. Revival, always a result of fervent, lived faith, awaits a people who’ve deliberately chosen whole-heartedly to follow Jesus in every aspect of their lives.
Related Scripture to Consider: Deut. 24:10–19; Zech. 7; Luke 14:15–24; Gal. 5:1–13.
An Action to Take: At what points in your life have you chosen to shut your ears to God’s call? No matter; respond with all that you feel able to entrust of your life to God today in response to His call.
A Prayer to Make: ‘Lord, help me when You call me to change direction in response to Your call. Amen.’
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