Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
You should be the kind of person that sinful people like to spend time with!
“Tax collectors” were the outcasts of society in those days. They were worse than “sinners”. They were the people who had turned their backs on God’s people and on God Himself and were helping the oppressive Roman rulers gouge the people of Israel.
But the Lord wants you to notice that these obviously sinful people were drawn to Jesus. They wanted to listen to what He had to say. They knew that He spoke the truth and that some of it would be uncomfortable; but they also knew that they didn’t go away from their time with Him feeling like dirt.
What they got from Jesus was not condemnation and rejection, but loving truth and warmth and hospitality. God wants people to get that from you too. He has purposely placed you in relationship with people who need Him and He wants you to love them and care for them and show them hospitality and also to speak the truth in love.
Not condemning and rejecting, but loving and sharing.
Let’s ask God to give us Jesus’ heart for “receiving” others as He would.