Scripture selection: Luke 5:29-32
Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sects complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
It’s not a very popular word these days: repentance.
We are far more comfortable thinking about the compassion and caring of Jesus; how he reached out to all people.
Yet, this passage makes something clear.
Jesus – compassionate though he was – also called people to move beyond the choices they had made and the life they had chosen which was out of line with God’s wishes for them.
In other words, they had some responsibility to choose another way.
Are there those who find it difficult to make such choices? Yes.
Are we to be as compassionate as possible in reaching out to these individuals? Yes.
Are they absolved from any personal responsibility when it comes to wrong or damaging choices? No. I don’t believe they are.
Jesus brought grace and hope to all people. He still does.
He also called people to “go and sin no more.”
That goes for sinners and self-righteous folk, who seem to believe they don’t ever sin.
Repentance – it may not be popular. Sometimes, though, it is the only way to find new life and hope.