Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 25 Number 5 May 2023
Page 4

A World Needing a Savior

Robert Johnson

Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them. And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, “Why do You eat and drink 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 NKJV)

The event that preceded Jesus eating in the home of Levi was His calling Him to be an apostle (5:27-28). For Jesus to do so, Levi (Matthew) had to know Jesus was the Son of God. Not only from gratitude to the Lord, but for others to understand who He was, Levi invited tax collectors and others to come share a meal with Him and to learn who He was. This was offensive to the Pharisees and scribes who refused to have anything to do with those they felt fell into the category of sinners. How could Jesus have anything to do with sinners if He truly were the Messiah? The Pharisees and scribes questioned the Lord’s motives for being in the presence of Levi and his guests. For them, it was just another mark against Jesus.

Certainly, one should not have fellowship with sinners to engage in sin with them (1 Corinthians 15:33). Jesus’ motives, however, were entirely different. He answered the Pharisees’ accusation by pointing out He was there to call them to repentance, to cleanse them of the sin that would keep them from the kingdom of God. Jesus knew the Pharisees needed repentance as much as any tax collector or acknowledged sinner did. They, however, refused to recognize such of themselves. Could these people ever change if one didn’t call them to repentance? It reminds us of Zacchaeus, who had Jesus stay with Him (Luke 19). Those Pharisees grumbled and said, “He has gone in to be the guest with a man who is a sinner” (19:7). Zacchaeus, though, received Jesus with joy and said, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold” (Luke 19:8). Jesus’ response bears hearing; “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (19:9-10).

If we’re honest, we all are sinners who need the Lord’s forgiveness (Romans 3:23; 5:8-11). The Pharisees, who showed such disdain for others, needed the blood of Christ as much as the tax collectors and sinners they condemned. Their haughty spirit would keep them from being forgiven, while a sinner who was willing to confess His need would find forgiveness (Luke 18:9-14). Without the blood of Christ, we stand condemned; with it, our sins are washed away, and we have fellowship with the Savior.

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (1 John 1:6-10)

When we look at a world so filled with sin today, what do we see? Do we see people to avoid, those at whom we just shake our heads in disgust, or do we see those desperately in need of the forgiveness God offers in Christ? We have the message that still offers mercy, compassion and forgiveness, the only way to live that offers eternal life. It still is needed by each of us and certainly by a world in the grip of sin.

Will we be light bearers of truth, or will we walk on by, not showing the way out of where sin has enslaved them? We should be grateful others showed us the way to truth and life, and offer the same to people living in hopelessness. Will you do your part to seek and save the lost? “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).

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