Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him.
Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”
When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (NLT)
Jesus mixed the wrong sort of crowd. Many reckoned that a true Messiah wouldn’t do that sort of thing. A true Messiah would shun the company of wicked sinners and gravitate to the religious and respectable sorts of people.
They were wrong. One of the great paradoxes of the Christian faith is that only the spiritually sick can get spiritually well. Only those who realise they are unworthy of God’s acceptance can be accepted by him. Only the lost can be found.
How sad, then, that some people think they are too far gone for Jesus. It can even become a sort of perverted pride. My sins are far too great for Jesus to be of any use. Such an attitude is self-defeating. We push away the only one who can forgive those sins and wallow in unnecessary guilt.
If we are sick in mind or body we rightly seek out medical help. Why not seek out Jesus to get help for our spiritual sickness, our heartfelt sense of unworthiness and a recognition of our estrangement from our Maker? His goodness is always greater than our badness.