Bring Them In
September 11, 2020
And Levi made Him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at His disciples, saying, "Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" And Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:29-32).
True Christianity is never silent. It expresses itself in many ways, but it always expresses itself. It seeks no retirement, rather it delights in advancing the Kingdom of Jesus Christ with those who have yet to hear.
Following his call to discipleship, Matthew immediately prepared a feast in honor of the Lord. It was attended by many people. The Pharisees complained the guests were tax collectors and sinners, which they were. No doubt Matthew invited his friends and associates for the expressed purpose of bringing them to Jesus.
Throughout the Gospels we read of people bringing other people to Jesus for varied reasons. But Jesus often refused new converts the opportunity to follow Him as disciples. Instead He told them to return to their homes to tell people what He had done for them. Sometimes we must bring people to Jesus through others - the church, pastors, teachers, family members, friends, etc. Sometimes we need to bring Jesus to people through our personal testimony.
You will note Jesus did not refuse to go to the dinner party. Although He would be labeled a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 11:19), yet it was for the purpose of bringing the Kingdom to such people that He came - wisdom is justified by her deeds. The dinner party gave Jesus an opportunity of introducing Matthew’s friends to the Kingdom.
There is controversy among Christian groups about engaging in such activities with ‘gluttons, wine-bibbers, and sinners’. But the question is, “How will we reach them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ if we do not engage them?” This does not mean we engage in their revelry, but it does mean we engage their mind and heart in the Gospel. Didn’t Jesus say, Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled (Luke 14:23)?
“Father, remind me that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, and that part of the ministry to is do the same. Ours is not just discipling the saved, but circulating among those You desire to save so that they may be led to the Jesus who can save them through my witness. To His honor and glory I ask, Amen.”