By: Waylon Bailey ~
We know Jesus loved tax collectors and sinners. Why did tax collectors and sinners love Jesus?
The Bible tells us that the common people heard Jesus gladly. On one occasion Jesus taught about David: ” ‘Since David himself called the Messiah “my Lord,” how can the Messiah be his son?’ The large crowd listened to him with great delight” (Mark 12:37).
On another occasion when Jesus called Matthew to be one of the twelve, Matthew invited many tax collectors and sinners to a dinner party. The Pharisees criticized Jesus for eating with such people, but Jesus reminded them that it is the sick not the healthy who need a doctor (Matthew 9:9-13).
What was it about Jesus that made tax collectors and sinners love him so much? We can surmise many answers to this question. Here are three that I believe mattered to the people.
First, the tax collectors and sinners saw God in the person of Jesus. These were people who were shut out from the temple and in reality from the kingdom of God. With the coming of Jesus the way to God was opened in the person of Jesus Christ.
Jesus told them about God as someone who spoke with authority. Jesus had been with God, and they recognized his close association with the Father.
Second, tax collectors and sinners loved Jesus because He lived a holy life. Who first recognized that Jesus was the Son of God and lived a sinless life? While we can’t answer the question, can we assume that these outcasts saw the authenticity of Jesus? We sometimes need to be reminded of the power of lives lived sincerely and completely for God. People are turned off by hypocrisy; they are attracted by genuine devotion to God.
Third, tax collectors and sinners experienced God’s love in a mighty way through the person of Jesus. He was different than anyone they had ever met. Jesus loved them freely, and they loved him in return.
We have been called to emulate Jesus. When we do so, we will see many of the outcasts of our day attacted to the Lord we love and serve.
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Have a great week!