The Need

“And He went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto Him, and He taught them. And as He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him,
‘Follow Me.’
And he arose and followed Him. And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and His disciples: for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto His disciples, ‘How is it that He eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?’
When Jesus heard it, He saith unto them,
‘They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ ”  Mark 2:13-17  (KJB)

Matthew is called by Jesus to follow Him. He leaves the position he holds as tax collector which is a position hated by his fellow Jews; thus, they hate tax collectors. Jesus calls him because He loves him.

As usual the scribes and Pharisees see Jesus eating and drinking with such “low lifes” and begin to criticize Him. They do not get it. They do not see the need. They do not see their great need for redemption and forgiveness.

For a man or woman of any rank in life, any job or profession in life and business to be redeemed from their sin they first need to be sick, lost, without hope. No self righteous individual can come to Jesus for salvation. You can see the result of that by the condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees.

The sick and diseased need a physician. The sick and diseased of heart, mind and soul need the Great Physician. His name is Jesus Christ, He is the Son of the Living God and God the Living Son. He died on the cross, was buried carrying away all our sin, shame and condemnation, and He rose again. He lives.

Call on His name and He will hear and He will heal you, and cleanse you of your sin.

Christmas Day Two Hundred Twenty and Nine

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to see other people as the Lord Jesus sees people, and to love them as He does also; and to know how to show that love through His Biblical example, and the power of the Holy Spirit within.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  [Jesus Christ Son of God] Matthew 5:43-48 (KJV)

The Righteous Cannot be Saved

Many religions place importance on doing something to gain God’s favor. Let me at the beginning just say; there is nothing you or I can do to gain God’s favor. There is no sacrifice, there is no sacrament, there is no good deed to your neighbor or the world which will gain you or me eternal life and/or the favor of Holy God.

This very mentality is what Jesus is addressing in the following verses:

“And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matthew 9:10-13 (KJV)

When Jesus was ministering to the publicans (tax collectors) and sinners the religious leaders began questioning Jesus’s purpose, power, and ministry. “What kind of man would sit with tax collectors and sinners?” they were asking themselves, and the disciples.

There is only one sacrifice which God the Father accepts; and that is the sacrifice, the death of His only begotten Son. Still the religious; the self-righteous try to gain the favor; the grace; of God through sacrifice and sacrament.

God shows grace and mercy to the sinner who will come to Him through the cross of His Son Jesus with a repentant heart. Through the act of repentance on the part of the sinner, trusting Christ Jesus, God clothes the sinner in the righteousness of God the Son.

You may be a righteous person today. You cannot be saved. Until you see yourself as the sinner your really are you will remain lost, condemned, dying, guilty, and spiritually dead.

Come to the Father through the cross of Jesus. Sinner hear Him and be saved. He came to save the sinner.

The People Jesus Receives To Himself

“And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them.  And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.  And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.  And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?  When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”  Mark 2:13-17 (KJV)

Jesus was teaching as He moved about from town to town.  He taught with words, parables, and acts of behavior and miracles (v. 13).

He was about to teach another lesson to a despised tax collector, and to the Pharisees who would have nothing to do with these “dregs of society”.  These “Tax collectors” were for the most part Hebrew people who had “contracted” their services to the Roman government.  It was their duty to collect taxes from their family, friends, and religious leaders and their families.  They were despised because it was believed that they had turned their back on their “religion”, and traitors to the Hebrew people, thus no one would have any associations with them, that is, at least until Jesus came along.

Jesus walks up to Levi, who is known as Matthew who wrote the first Gospel, and says to him, “Follow Me”, and Matthew just gets up and follows Jesus.  Now that was an act of faith.  This tax collecting was Matthew’s livelihood.  It was his living for he and his family.  Now, he just up and leaves it because a man whom he believes in says, “Follow Me”.  How many people this day will do that?  If you have been saved, truly saved, you have already.  Are you continuing to follow Him?  That is the question.

Jesus goes to the home of Matthew and they have a great time of fellowship, you might even call it a “party”, and it was of sorts, because Matthew had come to faith in Jesus, and now he was having his friends and associates together to meet Jesus.  The old snooty scribes and Pharisees see Jesus with them, and begin to castigate, and question the actions of Jesus.  I think they were only jealous because they were not invited.

The publicans/tax collectors were the lowest on the “totem pole” in Hebrew society right above the leper.  Here came Jesus and gave them the love and encouragement, and attention they needed – the grace they needed.  Now there is a bunch of old, hard nose, religious bigots who have no idea what ever of the “spirit of the law”, only their own additions to it, and they want to know why Jesus is associating with people whom they consider the “dregs of society”. The tax collectors know how they are viewed, and they also know they are needy of cleansing from sin, and in need of healing.

The question comes, “Whom does Jesus receive unto Himself?”  He receives sinners to Himself.  That means before one can come to Christ  we must know we have sinned – know that we are sinners.  He can do nothing for those who believe they are good, and can do no wrong.  Those who believe that God will weigh their good deeds against their evil deeds.  The greatest evil of all is refusing what God has given – the life of His Son Jesus.  Those who are righteous in and of themselves will never see Jesus, nor Heaven.

-Tim A. Blankenship