He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Every culture likes to pick a couple sins to treat as different from other sins. In Jesus day “righteous” pharisees despised tax collectors, who were known to extort money. These same “righteous” Pharisees were known to steal money set aside to care for their aging parents. It seems absurd to treat one kind of stealing as different than another, but we still do this today. We treat one lust as different from another lust and one addiction as worse than another addiction. Jesus is not impressed with which sinners we decide to judge.
Challenge: Are you righteous or are you a sinner? Ask God to show you where you've judged others and ask forgiveness for doing so. May you always show others the same love and mercy you've been called to receive.