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Face Against The Glass

  • When Jesus heard it, he said to them, 'Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.' Mark 2:17 WEB

    Jesus walked up to a tax collector's booth in the fishing village of Capernaum, and to the shock of His disciples, He told the tax man sitting there to 'Follow Me!' Then Matthew the tax collector immediately got up, left everything, and followed Jesus. The Jewish people rightly thought of the tax collectors as traitors because they worked for the Roman government, and they had the force of Roman soldiers behind them to make people pay taxes. They were the most visible Jewish collaborators with Rome.

    The Romans used a system called tax farming where people bid for the tax-collecting contract in a region. For example, many tax collectors might want to have the tax contract for a city like Capernaum. So the Romans awarded the contract to the highest bidder. Then the man collected taxes, paid the Romans what he promised, and kept the remainder. Everything he collected above what he paid Rome was pure profit.

    Tax collectors like Matthew, could stop anyone on the road, make him or her unpack all of their bundles, and then charge whatever they wanted in tax. If the person could not pay, the tax collectors sometimes would offer to loan them money at an enormous rate, thus pulling the people further into their greedy hands. They were trained extortionists. Quite naturally, they attracted a criminal element of thugs and enforcers'the scum of society.

    Tax collecting Jews could not serve as a judge or a witness in a court session, and they were excommunicated from the synagogues. They had their own special social status well below prostitutes, thieves, and sinners. They were the lowest of the low, and they were despised by the Jewish people. That is why Jesus' dealing with Levi (Matthew), the tax collector, was so remarkable.

    This tax collector became an Apostle of Jesus and later wrote the gospel of Matthew (Matthew 9:9). Like Simon was called Peter, Levi was called Matthew. Jesus saw the heart of Matthew beating inside of Levi the tax collector, while others did not. When Jesus called, Matthew immediately rose up and followed Him, even though he had a very lucrative position. He would have been the wealthiest of the disciples.

    Matthew was so excited that he made a great feast for Jesus, and he invited a large crowd of his tax collecting friends to come as well. While Jesus reclined at the table with them, the highly religious Jewish Pharisees stood outside and complained to His disciples saying: 'Why does He eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners (Luke 5:30)?' Jesus answered, 'Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'

    The highly religious shunned such people and avoided them, while Jesus left the religious camp and intentionally sought out the lost and ate with them. Jesus looked forward to spending time with the lowest of the low, the lost, the outcast, the black sheep. He actively sought them out.

    Zacchaeus was another tax collector on another day. He was too short to see Jesus over the crowd, so he climbed up a tree to get a better view. Jesus walked right up to the tree, stopped, looked up, and told him 'Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house' (Luke 19:5).

    Again the holy onlookers complained. Who does He think He is? Doesn't He know that He should be out here with us? They could not eat with sinners, so they stood on the outside, looking in at Jesus, and they watched Him eat another great meal without them. Instead of God coming back to you, you must return to Him.

    What happened to cause people to look down on God's behavior with disdain? This group of people had become so holy that they felt like the Son of God did not live up to their standards. Jesus was not good enough for them. I am not sure what is wrong there, but something sure ain't right.

    Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, but we sometimes lose sight of this immutable fact. God hates sin, but He loves us sinners, and He welcomes us with wide open arms. He actively seeks us out. I once was lost, but now I am found, because He sought me out one night while playing music at a party.

    Let us welcome everyone, and God will wash them as needed. The Holy Spirit will convict the heart of sin when the right time comes, but let us never exclude groups of people from our religion, lest one day we find that God is actually over there eating with them, and it is us on the outside with our face pressed against the glass.

    Prayer: Heavenly Father please help me see those in my path that I can show Your love to. Protect me, guide me, give me the wisdom and tact to know when and where. Speak to me and through me. Share Your heart with me today, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen!

    Note: For those participating in the Creation Photography weekly themes, here is this week's challenge from group leader, Dianna Wyles: Hebrews 13:2 "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." ~ 'Unexpected guests or Entertaining Angels' will be our next fun theme and is wide open for creative interpretation as always. We also encourage you to post anything else that inspires you as well. My photos this week reflect a few moments where I felt like I was entertaining more than just nature. Have a blessed and fantastic week, but don't forget to be hospitable! God bless! Here is the link: Creation Photographers


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19 comments
  • 0
Debi Burton
Debi Burton Yes, share your heart with me too! In Jesus’ name I pray! Amen
Aug 11
  • 2
Bella Colliander
Bella Colliander

A beautiful message.  I have had a problem with those that are gay, probably because one of my grand daughters is presently.  This message has told me I have been wrong.  I am trusting God to change her heart and mine.  Thank you Pastor and have a blessed day.

Aug 11
  • 2
Kay Collinsworth
Kay Collinsworth

Amen Father help me to see others as You do

Aug 11
  • 2
Kevin J. Eck
Kevin J. Eck

Amen,

Aug 11
  • 2
Brenda F
Brenda F

Amen

Aug 11
  • 2
Patricia Walker
Patricia Walker

Amen.  God sees us as we are. May we all be so kind. Amen. 

Aug 11
  • 2
Dave and Sue Earlywine
Dave and Sue Earlywine

Amen,God is awesome.We love him and worship him.He is everything to us.

Aug 11
  • 2
Celeste Strenn
Celeste Strenn

Amen and Amen and AMEN! Thank you for speaking the truth in love

Aug 11
  • 2
Linda Clark
Linda Clark

Amen 

Aug 11
  • 2
Jim Jarrell
Jim Jarrell

Amen! Thank You Lord! I have often said that the Christian Army is the only Army in the world who shoots it's own wounded. Lord helps us overcome!

Aug 11
  • 1
Scott Riegelmann
Scott Riegelmann

Amen please show me your heart Lord!

Aug 11
  • 1
Jose Simo
Jose Simo

Heavenly Father I thank You for saving me even though I have been a sinner, thank You Lord for Your forgiveness and loving kindness. Show me the way to see those who are in need of You as I was before, in Jesus Christ name I pray. Amen. Speak to me and through me Lord. 

Beautiful message as always Pastor, God bless you and Sylvia. 

Aug 11
  • 1
Cathy Webb
Cathy Webb

Share Your heart with me today, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen!

Aug 11
  • 1
Yvette York
Yvette York

Amen

Aug 11
  • 1
Schalk  de Beer
Schalk de Beer

Yes Lord Jesus, amen

Aug 11
  • 1
Marisa Jackson
Marisa Jackson

Amen!!

Aug 11
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus

Amen!

Aug 11
  • 1
Judith B
Judith B

Amen  

Aug 11
  • 1
Richard Mondello
Richard Mondello

In Jesus name I ask Amen. 

Aug 12