“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Levi met Jesus.
Maybe you’ve heard the saying “The church is not a museum of saints but a hospital for sinners.” Whoever said that might well have based it on Jesus’ words in this passage.
Levi was a tax collector, and when Jesus had dinner at Levi’s house, they were joined by other tax collectors and sinners.
Tax collectors helped the Roman Empire by collecting money from the local people, so they were not very popular in the community. To help pay themselves, they were also known for collecting extra money for their own pockets, which made them even more disliked. In Mark 2, we hear that the religious leaders criticized Jesus for spending time with tax collectors and sinners.
But Jesus reminded the religious leaders that sinners were exactly the kind of people he had come to save. Jesus offered his love to everyone, even sinners. In fact, since every person sins, it may be easier for those who know they are sinners to admit that they need Jesus. They do not have so much of their own pride getting in the way.
It is wonderfully honest to admit that we are sinners in need of God’s grace. We can have the courage to make that confession because Jesus is ready to receive us. If sin is the sickness, Jesus is the cure.
Healing God, I confess that I am a sinner in need of your grace. Thank you for sending Jesus; he forgives my sin, heals me, and makes me whole. Amen.
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