Greetings from the Great Smoky Mountains! Some clean, crisp autumn air and a stroll by a gently meandering stream does a person good, you know. We all need refreshment and a dose of renewed perspective. Josh enjoyed his own teenage diversions with FBC friends who are likewise roaming the foothills of East Tennessee.
It’s not just a refreshed view of God that I need from my r and r, but a no-kidding look at myself too. The former best produces the latter, in my opinion.
Luke 5:27-32 records our Lord’s call of Levi (Matthew). It was one thing for Jesus to touch and bless sinners and unclean persons; it was another for Christ to call one of those fringe dwellers into the ministry. Such was Levi, viewed by most as the traitor par excellence by nature of his vocation as a tax collector for those nasty Romans.
The Bible doesn’t seem to make much of Matthew’s calling except that he “left everything” behind in order to follow Christ, and that Matthew quickly threw quite a shindig in honor of Jesus — complete with a guest list that would curl your hair. As always, Jesus seemed eager to feast and celebrate with sinners of every stripe, which did not go over well with the religious crowd. Remember them? Talk about party poopers.
Within that context, Jesus reminds us of His mission: He comes to heal those who are truly sick. The tone of the text leaves me more than reminded that I better not get too smug in my own spiritual self-assessment. After all, I’m the one who needs a doctor. I’m the sinner in the story.
I am so gut-level thankful that none of those guests at Levi’s party was required to get his (or her) act together before Jesus could show up. Just the opposite in fact: Christ was driven to show up at the party because the guests were an assortment of real-life messes. That’s our Savior. Grace on the scene.
In spite of us, we’ve been eternally loved (Romans 5:8).
For someone, somewhere, soon … would you be that grace?
See you Sunday morning!