One of the main points in the sermon about friendship and who we, as Christians, are hanging out with daily.
Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) | Mark 2:15 (NLT)
Jesus was always surrounding himself with people who were not perfect. Mark called them disreputable sinners. Pastor Scott called them “ugly people” in his sermon. These guys (and gals) were the people who were not well-liked in the community during that time.
Levi (aka – Matthew… the one who wrote the book) was a tax collector. He probably scammed people all the time when he collected the taxes from the local, hard-working people.
Tax collectors were not liked. Tax collectors were… ugly.
Jesus knew this and when Jesus chose Levi to be a disciple, I’m sure more than a few people were a little confused. And if that wasn’t enough, Jesus went to Levi’s house a little later for a dinner with “many tax collectors and disreputable sinners.”
Of course, the religious teachers didn’t like this and decided to question Jesus about his “un-holy affiliations.” Jesus’ response to them was great.
“Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” | Mark 2:17 (NLT)
Jesus came to spend time with the “ugly people.”
What can we take from Jesus’ example?
I don’t spend enough time with the “tax collectors and the disreputable sinners” of today’s world. I work at a Christian ministry. I work at a church. I go to a Christian school. The majority of my friends are all Christian.
I’m constantly in what Pastor Scott called a HOLY HUDDLE.
This has led me to ask myself a difficult question: Am I purposefully keeping myself separated from those who need to know the same love, forgiveness, and grace that Jesus Christ has offered to me?
I want to be an example of Christ to those who don’t know Him. But how can I do that if I’m never around anyone who doesn’t know Him?
Jesus has given us several examples of seeking out the sick and the hurting and the lost. Jesus’ love was always present when interacting with these people. If I want to be an effective Christ-follower, then I need to do the same. I need to find the sick, hurting, and lost and love them as Christ did.
What about you? Do you tend to keep your self from getting to close to those ugly people? Are you constantly finding yourself in the HOLY HUDDLES? Are you able to show Christ’s love to those around you?
Let’s promise to make a concerted effort to follow Christ’s example of loving everyone, not just those in our close circles who are comfortable with it.