This is the scripture that changed my life. Really, it changed how I thought about Jesus, how I viewed him. Jesus was for those “church people” – those people who thought (as did I) they were better than guys like me. I was not worthy of Jesus. I did not deserve his salvation. I did not get the idea of the free gift of his salvation. I did not understand what grace and mercy truly were. I just knew that I was an alcoholic, degenerate gambler who had stolen thousands from his own wife and kids. I knew that I then had moved on to multiple affairs and trysts with women I communicated with online. I knew that I wasn’t living up to the perceived standard of doing just a little bit more good than bad in my life to get into heaven. I had just begun my recovery, and at the suggestion of my sponsor, began to read the bible. Not knowing any better, I started in Matthew. Finally, in chapter 9, I came to this – 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.”
I was one of those sinners the Pharisees were standing judgement of. Those church people were looking at me, wondering what Jesus is doing eating with a guy like THAT!! But you know what? Jesus doesn’t hang with “church people.” They don’t recline at the table with Jesus. As a guy who has been sponsoring people in recovery for a while now, I understand why. These “church people” already have it all together. They know all the answers. They don’t NEED Jesus. Just like most of my sponsees. They already know. They don’t NEED what I have for them. Jesus came to save, but if he had spent all his time on those who had it all together, who didn’t know they needed saving, how many would have been saved? He didn’t spend his time trying to justify himself to “church people.” He came and hung out with those who knew they were sinners and needed saving. He came for those of “us” who know we are sick and need a doctor!!
“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