“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Luke 5:32)
What did Jesus mean exactly by these words? He said this right after the Pharisees had complained to Jesus’ disciples that he was eating with “scum.” Jesus had eaten with a tax collector and invited this tax collector to be his disciple. The Pharisees and teachers of religious law could not stand this and were angry with Jesus that he had spent time with a tax collector that they considered scum.
We can learn two things from this story. The first is that Jesus came for everyone, or a better way to put it would be he came for anyone who is willing to accept Him. Jesus showed no prejudice or racism. The free gift of salvation is open to anyone who will accept it. The second thing we can learn from this story is that the Pharisees rejected Jesus because of their self-righteous thinking which was their own pride and prejudice taking them over.
We live in a society that teaches humility as a bad thing. We have so many self esteem programs in schools but test scores are lower than ever. Our society teaches our youth to be prideful from a very young age. Perhaps we are going about this the complete wrong way. Rather than teaching prideful independence we should be teaching humble dependence on God and dependence on our parents and elders that we can learn from.
People grow up with this pride instilled in them that keeps them from ever seeing a need for repentance because they are so prideful they don’t think any of their actions are ever wrong. Don’t we see this everyday on the news? Everywhere we look people are defending their morally wrong actions giving excuse after excuse why in their case it was ok.
“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 18:3-4)
Is it your pride that keeps you from Jesus as in the Pharisees case? Think carefully before answering that question because wouldn’t “no” be in itself a prideful answer? I am a confessed disciple of Christ but I answer yes to that question. My pride does keep me from Jesus and I struggle with this everyday. My pride doesn’t want me to admit this. My pride tears me down but Jesus Christ builds me up!
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.” (Prov 16:18-20)
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