“I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Christians often contrast them selves favorably with the “Pharisees” —as if the very word were a synonym for “hypocrites.” Jesus does not vilify these good and “righteous” people. But he makes it clear that his mission is else where: to restore and heal what is lost and broken. The first object of his attention in this text is Levi, a tax collector. His job—which put him at the service of the Roman occupiers, and probably involved a certain amount of graft—would make him an object of derision. When the good people see that Jesus is dining in the home of Levi, along with a lot of other “sinners,” they are scandalized.We often assume that God’s priorities reflect our own scale of value, particularly when it comes to what causes “scandal” and what confers respectability. Respecta bility is a matter of appearances; what matters to Jesus is what is in the heart. As the author of He brews observes, “all creation is transparent” to God; our hearts our transparent to him. The question is not whether we are among those called sinners or among the righteous—but whether we are among those whose self righteousness effectively sets them beyond the reach of God’s mercy. The Savior comes only for those who know they need saving.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2019