9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.
10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners.11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?[a]”
12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’[b] For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Close your eyes and imagine this. You are floating along on a big ship and suddenly something happens and the ship sinks! The problem is you are in the middle of the Atlantic thousands of miles away from land and there was no time to send a distress signal. You manage to grab a life ring but all that is going to do is keep you afloat. Everyone else has either drawn or floated away and you are left all alone in the middle of the ocean.
Do you have that picture painted in your head? Good now put yourself lost at sea for however many years you are old, and no one has come to rescue you. Do you feel lonely and sad enough for the next part of this imagination game?
Suddenly a ship comes by and offers to rescue you. A man even holds out his hand and says, “here I will pull you aboard. We have plenty of food and fresh water, you can sleep in a bed and get a bath we also have new cloths for you.”
You respond with one of these two choices. 1 “Na I’m good I enjoy this lonely sad life and I don’t want to be saved. I can do it on my own. Bye now.” Or. 2 “Thank you! I am so lost; I haven’t had peace in X years.” Now think about it for a minute or two.
This is the way our life is after Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. We are full of sin and wickedness. I know that the very best, most righteous five minutes of my life has still fallen infinitely short of God’s infinite Goodness. I am a sinner, I can’t escape it, I can’t run from it. Even my very thoughts betray me and condemn me to an eternal hell. The Bible says in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” In order for me to pay for my very best five minutes of my life I should be condemned to death! Thankfully Jesus rescued me at the cost of his own life. Romans 3 also tells us that “23For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” This means that everyone is guilty of sin! We all mess up. We all fail to meet God’s standard.
Now back to our text in reference and our little imagination game. When Jesus was fussing at the Pharisee’s he was telling them that they could not be humbled because they thought that they were perfect in every way. But the sinners knew they were messed up and needed help. Just like no one in their right mind would answer our question about being rescued from sea would answer with the first answer. Yet when it comes to repentance/and salvation each person has to realize that they need saving. They have to understand that they are in danger and need help. This is why Jesus say’s he calls the sinner. Not that anyone is righteous but before he can save them they have to understand that they need a savior.
1 John 1:9 “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” In order for us to be saved we have to realize that we need a savior and we have to confess that we have messed up. That is the only part in salvation that we have a part in. Just saying “God I am a filthy sinner and I need your forgiveness.” The rest is on God and re-read the last part of that verse, that’s God’s response.
If you do not believe you have sinned here is how the Bible defines sin and it is quite simple James 4:17 “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” If you know something is wrong it is sin. You don’t have to remember where you read it in the Bible or who told it to you. And if you know something is the right thing to do and don’t do it or think it, it is sin.
I want to leave you with this thought. “What do you need to repent of to find forgiveness?” God will forgive but he will also pass you by if you say you are good enough and deserve to go to heaven.