Thank You for receiving me, Lord. Thank You for making a way for sinners to become disciples.
Read: Matthew 9:9-13
 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.  When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Reflect: What is Jesus’ distinction between the sick and the healthy?
Jesus’ choice of Matthew as disciple must have seemed bizarre to first-century Jews. Tax collectors were a shady lot: not only were they collaborators, collecting taxes for the pagan Roman Empire, but they also flouted God’s laws by exploiting their own people, siphoning off money for themselves. The Pharisees’ question (11) might seem perfectly reasonable to many people. Many non-Christians comment that God is only interested in “good” people. Jesus’ comment turns that assumption on its head: the “shady” people are the ones who need God’s help; they are sick with sin and need his healing (12).
Who do we consider “shady”? A group of teenagers I was with recently categorized people according to the scale of their crime. The “really shady” list included pedophiles, terrorists, drug dealers, murderers and arms dealers. The next category down named investment bankers, phone-hacking journalists and politicians! Yet Romans 3:10-12 suggests that God does not operate a sliding scale of sin. If we want to know who is on the “shady list,” we must look in the mirror, for “there is no one righteous, not even one…” (Rom. 3:10). How truly marvelous that Jesus invites us, “shady” sinners, to be his friends!
Who would you define in the untouchable group of “shady” people? Make a point to actively love someone so defined.
You have loved me, a sinner. Help me to see others with Your eyes and love with Your love.