Jesus welcomes outcasts

JESUS SPEAKING

                Then Levi gave him a great feast in his own house.  And there were a great number of tax collectors (sinners) and others who sat down with them.  And their scribes and the Pharisees (religious leaders) complained against his disciples saying, “Why do you eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Luke 5: 29 – 32.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Those who had committed the greatest offenses were also the most eager to receive forgiveness.  The majority of prostitutes and tax-collectors possessed no illusions of purity; they were therefore capable of evaluating themselves honestly.  The religious leaders were blinded by pride; mistakenly believing they were righteous, they refused to accept God’s message of repentance and reconciliation.  The initial step toward real fellowship with God includes a genuine recognition of sin.  Many today are being crushed beneath the weight of guilt and shame.  Those who need healing the most are the first to be rejected by the self-righteous.  However, although the world has forsaken the worst offenders, God has not abandoned them.

                Those who lived within the boundaries of the Roman Empire had little compassion for the sick and the infirmed.  There were no hospitals, retirement homes, or assisted living facilities.  Poor sanitary practices often lead to outbreaks of disease that devastated entire towns, cities, and nations.  Those who became ill were usually abandoned by the strong; many were left to die alone in the streets.  Still, as Christianity began to spread, so did attributes like mercy, compassion, and love.  During a plague in Alexandria, Egypt, in 416 A.D., a group of Christians was assembled to care for those who had fallen ill.  They became known as “the Parabalani” (“the reckless ones”) because in caring for the sick, they selflessly exposed themselves to infection.  As they ministered, they preached the gospel.  We might safely conclude that those who lay dying in the streets received salvation at a far greater rate than those were healthy.

                As Christians, we are called to reach out and to care for the sickest of sinners; those who have been abandoned and left to die.  Drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes, thieves, adulterers, and fornicators are frequently the most willing to receive God’s message.  May we never shun sinners, nor abandon the lost.  The Holy Spirit will provide every faithful believer with opportunities to preach the gospel and to deliver healing to those who are afflicted.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, may we never forget that we are but sinners, saved by Your grace.  Provide us with opportunities to minister to the lost.  May we have compassion on the sick and love those who are dying.  May we continue to be instruments of Your mercy, and may others come to know true forgiveness and reconciliation.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.”  God bless all of you.

Advertisements

Two messages a week will be sent to your email address.

Join 6,021 other followers


%d bloggers like this: