Jesus Came to Call the Sinners

(Mark 2:13-17)

Jesus came to call the sinners and not the righteous. When he called Levi the tax collector in this section of Mark we see he went to his house and ate with the sinners and tax collectors. The scribes at that time looked down on Jesus for being with these people they thought as second-rate citizens. This showed up their prejudices and bias for Jesus showed no partiality.

Prejudice is part of human nature. It is the cause of a great many inhuman and unjust actions in this world. People consider themselves to be better than others and look down upon them. The basis of this prejudice can be many things: skin colour, religion, race, education, sex and even the sporting teams they follow. This should not be so. In many places Jesus condemns prejudice, bias and partiality, as too did the apostles.

As far as the Lord is concerned all mankind is equal. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God as Paul wrote in Romans 3:23. No man can claim not to have sinned and thus no man can stand in the presence of God in his own right. If this is so, then who can claim to be better or more superior to someone else? Nobody has that right. Jesus alone was the only person to have come to the earth and lived a life without sin.

Now here in Mark we see Jesus say that he came to call the sinners and not the righteous. If he came to spend time only amongst the people of the church, how would the message of the Gospel of truth be spread to the rest of the world? How would the opportunity to be set free from sin ever be proclaimed if only the people of the churches held the message of the Gospel? The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a message to the whole world, and to achieve his purpose he had to be with those who needed this message. Who needs the message of the Gospel? Every person that ever lived is now living, or will come in the future.

Can anyone stand in the presence of God? As I have said already, it is because of sin that man cannot stand in the presence of God. But in Jesus we have the ability to enter into a place where we are freed from sin and born again as new creations. In Jesus our sins are taken away and we become righteous through faith. And finally in Jesus we do have the ability to stand before God, not as sinners, but as freed men through the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

So is there any place for prejudice and bias in this world? None whatsoever. Even when we enter into the death and resurrection of Jesus and are set free from our sins we have no right to think ourselves superior to those who have not done so. For those who are in Jesus, all are equal as he said through Paul in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” And as we progress in Christ we do not rise to a position of superiority but rather we settle to the position of a servant. Jesus showed this saying, “you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:8-11)

Do you want to be like Christ? Then aspire to be a servant as he came to serve and not be served. (Luke 22:27) Do not aspire to be the centre of attention, as some preachers in the church today seem to do. Do not aspire to seek the power of this world through Christianity. Aspire rather to serve the Lord and learn the truth of the Gospel in humility and obedience to God. Remember that it is the meek who will inherit the earth, not the mighty and the power we seek is the power to become the children of God as he said, “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

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