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Jesus’ Unlikely Choice

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Jesus’ Unlikely Choice

When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?” Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders” (Matthew 9:11-13 MSG).

It’s important to understand the culture of Jesus’ day. Matthew, who became one of the twelve disciples, was a tax collector. Tax collectors were Jewish men hired by Rome to collect taxes from the Jewish people. Taxes were whatever the tax collector said it was. If the bill was a $1,000, it wasn’t uncommon for the tax collector to bill the person $1,500 and pocket $500. They were men who oppressed their own people for financial gain.

Jesus had the audacity to choose one of these men to become his disciple.[1] Sinners hung out with sinners, but the religious were most uncomfortable with sinners. Jesus overcame the temptations to condemn sinners by spending time with them. He came for the people with the greatest sickness and the deepest hurts. The church should be the place for the hurting to come and feel safe, where they can experience the overwhelming grace of God.

Seek diligently after grace—the third choice. Ask God to fill you with a grace for the broken and lost.

[1] Matthew 9:9-10

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About Ron Bontrager

Lead Pastor of Lakeview Church in Indianapolis.

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