“Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, ‘This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.’” vss. 1-2
Jesus had grown up in a rigidly dualistic religious system, one that carefully pointed out differences between good and evil behavior, and that also labelled people as being either righteous or sinners. As his activities became known to religious leaders many were interested in what he had to say–according to their categories he quite obviously was a righteous man. But they couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t more careful in his associations–he rejected their dualistic religious system and welcomed sinners into his table fellowship. Later on as followers of Jesus continued his ministry they had a hard time not falling back into the old ways. It’s just so comfortable to see the world from a Pharisaic point of view–we love to label ourselves and others as good or bad and making judgments about whether people are in or out. It can even make sense to see what’s happening in the world as a massive struggle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. In our day politicians are exploiting that tendency bigtime and have succeeded in creating a huge divide in our society. From the Jesus perspective such divisions are appalling. We are called instead to embrace the other and see ourselves as a singular force for good in the world. In Christ there is neither sinner nor righteous; all are one body!
Thought for the Day: How do I embrace the other in my daily living?