Hunkered Down Devotion

Luke 5:27-32 (Voice)
27 Some time later, Jesus walked along the street and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting in his tax office.  
Jesus: Follow Me.
28 And Levi did. He got up from his desk, left everything (just as the fishermen had), and followed Jesus.
29 Shortly after this, Levi invited his many friends and associates, including many tax collectors, to his home for a large feast in Jesus’ honor. Everyone sat at a table together.
30 The Pharisees and their associates, the religious scholars, got the attention of some of Jesus’ disciples.
Pharisees (in low voices): What’s wrong with you? Why are you eating and drinking with tax collectors and other immoral people?
Jesus (answering for the disciples): 31 Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. 32 I haven’t come for the pure and upstanding; I’ve come to call notorious sinners to rethink their lives and turn to God.


Whenever the Pharisee’s show up in our New Testament stories, we immediately know that they are the ‘bad guys’.  And there can be no doubt that they got a lot wrong and because of their focus on what they understood to be the letter of the law was so intense that they ended up completely missing the Spirit of the law.  

Their focus on the ‘rules’ of their faith and to sorting people into categories of ‘in’ and ‘out’ meant that they missed the God they were trying to seek and serve, when he was literally right in front of their eyes and in their midst.

The question for us is how often do we fall into a similar trap?  How often do we spend our time trying to decide who should be in and who should be out, when we should be extending the welcome of our community to all?  

We hear the Pharisee’s criticize Jesus and immediately know they are wrong, but how often do we make judgements about the kind of person someone is by what they look like?  When someone walks into the church that doesn’t look like they fit in, do we make a snap judgement about whether they belong or not?  

Beyond these hypothetical questions, I can speak  to dozens and dozens of people over my years of ministry who have suffered in silence and solitude as they struggled with a sin or a difficult situation, desperate to have someone to help shoulder their burden, but terrified of the judgment and ostracization that would come from disclosure.

The words of Jesus in this passage are a constant reminder to all of us about what the church is supposed to be: not a club where perfection is a membership requirement, but rather a hospital for sinners, a sanctuary for the weary, broken, and lost.  

As Jesus said: Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. 32 I haven’t come for the pure and upstanding; I’ve come to call notorious sinners to rethink their lives and turn to God.’
 
Sharing God’s Love, 
Chip  

Prayer:    Remind us Lord, that as you accept us as we are – broken and sinful – that is how we are to accept those seeking your grace. Amen.

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