Everyone loves a party! Many opportunities for these activities ‘intrude’ on our lives regularly! While I jest about intrusion, it is no secret that we party for birthday’s, wedding’s, anniversaries, retirements, not to mention dinner parties, office parties, block parties and the annual New Year’s Eve or Super Bowl party. We’ve been known to even observe this practice within our congregation. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for even Jesus attended a party or two during His ministry, giving some clergy a sense of approval for their own decisions to “party”, but I digress…
Let’s direct our focus on one of Jesus’ occasion to gather with others for a social event. He had just called Matthew to follow Him, and in return Matthew called together some friends to meet Jesus. Keep in mind that Matthew was a tax collector and not well thought of by the Jewish people. When the Scribes and Pharisees saw who Jesus had chosen to ‘rub elbows with’ they were aghast! Jesus’ response to them was to tell them that healthy people don’t need a doctor and that he hadn’t come to call the righteous, but rather sinners unto repentance (Lk 5:32). Please understand that those who are righteous are in the relationship with God that He wants, while self-righteous individuals see no need to respond to God and sinners have yet to respond to Christ’s call.
The question that begs to be asked is why Jesus felt the need to call the unrighteous to repentance… The answer is multi-faceted. God is seeking those who are contrite and lowly in spirit with whom He can “dwell and revive…” (Is 57:15) In a parable Jesus taught, He spoke of the prayer of a self-righteous Pharisee and the humble prayer of a tax collector. In closing, Jesus clearly states the tax collector was justified rather than the Pharisee confirming which type of person is receptive to God (Lk 18:9-14). Paul tells young Timothy (2Ti 2:24-26) that Christian efforts are to “gently correct those in opposition” with hopes that they “come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil.” In another letter, Paul informs the brethren at Corinth (1Cor 6:9, 11) that the unrighteous will not inherit Kingdom of God… listing a number of practices that are deemed “unrighteous”, and then immediately reminding them that they had repented of those activities and had been washed and sanctified. Jesus came to call all sinners… as a sinner, have you heard and responded to Jesus’ call?
Copyright © 2012, Nolan P. Rutter