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Why do we expect Jesus to only be with the “righteous” today?

Posted by on Apr 4, 2011 in love, missional, scripture, service | 5 comments

Why do we expect Jesus to only be with the “righteous” today?

Yesterday, I was talking with someone about our relationship with God in Christ. When Jesus Christ walked the earth 2000 years ago, those who considered themselves to be “right with God” (i.e., righteous) often complained that Jesus continued to hang out with the dregs of society.

For example, look at this passage:

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:9-13 ESV)

Tax collectors were rejected by the Jews. Yet, Jesus invited one to be one of his closest disciples, and he even ate at that sinner’s house. In other passages, Jesus was condemned for associating with prostitutes. Jesus surrounded himself with sinners, the lowest rung of religious society, those rejected by “the righteous.”

In response to this rejection, Jesus said two things:

1) God desires mercy, and not sacrifice.

2) Jesus is here for sinners, not the righteous.

How do we respond to Jesus’ words here? How do we respond to sinners in our society? How would Jesus respond? Is Jesus still with the sinners today, or does he only hang out with the righteous?

And, finally, how do we see ourselves? Are we the sinners or the righteous?


5 Comments

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  1. 4-4-2011

    The way I see it, we are all sinners so Christ is always with us :)

  2. 4-4-2011

    Alan,

    “Why do we expect Jesus to only be with the “righteous”” today?

    Maybe the question ought to be, “Why do we expect Jesus to only be with the “self-righteous”” today?

    Sarcasm? No!

  3. 4-4-2011

    Swanny,

    I agree. Should that affect the way the church looks at “sinners”? (I’m not saying that you look at them differently. I’m asking in generalities.)

    Aussie John,

    I was hoping someone would bring this up. This is exactly the point that Jesus was trying to make. Someone either considers himself righteous on his own, which means that he/she doesn’t need Jesus. Or that person considers himself a sinner on his own, which means 1) he/she needs Jesus and 2) he/she is in the same boat as all the other sinners.

    -Alan

  4. 4-4-2011

    No.

    How can the church look at sinners differently when the church is made up of sinners?

    The Bride of Christ = Sinners

  5. 4-4-2011

    Swanny,

    Exactly.

    -Alan