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Sick…

12 Nov

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Continuing reflections from Luke 5… verses 27-32

After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

I have been going back to Luke 5 again and again recently… it is really speaking to me.

Levi (also known as Matthew) is a tax-collector.  In the ancient world, a tax-collector was about as hated as you could be.  Not only did you take money from people, but you were considered a traitor to your community.  Tax collectors made their money by skimming off the top.  They were Jews who worked for Rome.  They were also known to associate with “questionable” people.

Jesus calls Levi… and he goes to a dinner at his house.  A great banquet.  Filled with other tax-collectors.  And “sinners”.  In Luke’s Gospel, that almost always means prostitutes.  The sexually immoral.  The kinds of folks that get kicked out of churches today.  Jesus is there… in his home… at his party… it wasn’t a bible study or worship service… it was a party, with some serious partyers.  And Jesus was there.

Why?

Because:

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

The Pharisees didn’t get that.  Most church people don’t get that either.

The Pharisees… worked hard at keeping people out.  You weren’t welcome in the community until you cleaned up your act and earned your way in — proving that you were holy enough to be part of the group.

Church people… you’ve got to play the part, keep the mask on.  They talk a good game about grace and love and community… you just better not color outside the lines or have an unacceptable kind of sin… like tax-collecting or sexual sin or something equally as ugly.

Jesus… “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

I am comforted by that truth.  It is truly good news.  I am sick.  I know it.  And Jesus is for me.  And for what it is worth, you are sick too.  Even if you don’t know it yet… you are.  And Jesus is for you too.  And that is good news! Don’t ever forget it.

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

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Posted by on November 12, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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