10And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. -Matthew 9:10-12 (KJV)
We should not be surprised when people question our integrity, for they did so to the Lord. As Jesus was going about doing good, helping people, and spreading the good news, there were critics who opposed Him. At one point they accused Him of using demonic forces to drive out demons. The Pharisees had less trouble with Jesus calling Matthew as a disciple than they did with Him going to have dinner in Matthew’s home. This truly threw them for a loop when Jesus did this.
The question I would have wanted the Pharisees to consider, and I what would want people to think about today is to whom should Jesus have been going? Where should Jesus have been targeting His ministry? The Lord pointed out that healthy folks don’t need a doctor; sick people need the doctor. Had Jesus only associated with those who had their lives together and were seeking God, then those whose lives were going down the tubes would have been neglected. The Lord demonstrated that we seek to reach all people with the gospel. This includes the executive and the heroin addict, the religious person and the atheist, and the homemaker and the prostitute. We simply reach out in Jesus’ name to all people without prejudice and without selectivity. We go wherever this takes us: the slums, the country, the city, the upscale and the down-and-out.
I love Philip Yancey’s book, “What’s so Amazing About Grace?” In one chapter he talked about a church which allowed an AA group to meet weekly at their facility. Philip was very honest in pointing out the potential problems with such a ministry and that it’s probably not going to work in every church. Some of the participants would pose a challenge for the church in terms of knowing how to minister to their needs. Yet Philip said the church reached out to them, and they ended up having a tremendous impact on those who came to the meetings.
When we reach out to the lost as Jesus said we should, there will be challenges involved. Some folks might come to church who have the potential to make us feel a little uncomfortable. However, Jesus faced the same dilemma and He said sick folks are the ones who need the care of a doctor. Sinners are the ones who need the Lord’s forgiveness.
Let us not be discouraged when those around us question what we are doing for the Lord. The call of God in Christ Jesus is greater than the judgment of others. Keep reaching out in Jesus’ name. Lost souls are in need of the Lord.