Sunday, February 21, 2016


15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of[a] the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat[b] with tax collectors and sinners?”17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:15-17

Many Christians are currently in the thicket of Lenten season. It's a time where many give up particular things to focus on God. I have personally given up chocolates, Facebook, and Internet in the past for Lent. Here is what I have found how it works out for a lot of us. We start out well. We have the best intentions. Yet at some point down the line we get weary and slip up on our commitment that began on Ash Wednesday. Our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak so to speak. Now keep in mind, we are speaking of a seasonal fast, not a lifetime commitment. Yet even though it's for a season, we struggle to finish with the gusto we began with. 

Isn't that like a lot of things in our life? How many times have we promised God we would give up something for good or began doing something for the rest of our lives only to fall short. Lent can be like that for a lot of us. It's a reminder of our sinfulness and despite our best intentions, we are weak in ourselves. No matter how hard we try and no matter how rigorous our discipline, we fall short of God's standard. Some of us recognize it, some of us don't. 

Even when I think I am doing really well, I often find later my motives aren't pure. The Pharisees in the gospel story thought they were completely pure and nothing like those sinners and tax collectors Jesus reclined to eat with. Little did they know, they belonged at that table with Jesus too. 

Jesus came for sinners and bad people because quite frankly that's all there is. No matter how terrible of a sinner you are or how good you think you may be, Jesus came for you. Romans 5:8 says, "God demonstrates His love for us in this. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." 

You see it isn't that anyone was worth saving. Even the best of us are undeserving of God's love.  No, it's while we were still sinners, while we hated God, while we were at our worst that God still sent His Son and He willingly, full of love, gave Himself for us. That's the gospel. The good news is that those who are the most undeserving are the ones that Jesus pours out his mercy and grace on. 

So take heart. No matter how bad you've blown it or how good you think you are doing at being a Christian, Jesus' commitment to you is unwavering. He is the same always. We are incapable.  He is capable of saving to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him. 

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