The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to Jesus. (Luke 15:1)
If we had been there when the tax collectors and sinners were all coming to Jesus, this is what we might very well have heard from the devout religious leaders of that day: “EWWWWW!” You know the sound; you often hear it when children are at play. When they encounter something they don’t like, they loudly express their disgust by saying, “EWWWWW!” And that is exactly what the self-righteous religious leaders were doing when they saw tax collectors and other people they regarded as “sinners” continually coming into the presence of Jesus.
- Jesus receives sinners. . . . EWWWWW!
- Jesus eats with tax collectors. . . . EWWWWW!
- Doesn’t Jesus know how bad these people are? . . . EWWWWW!
- Jesus is treating this scum like friends! . . . EWWWWW!
What leaves the self-righteous then and now utterly flabbergasted is this: Jesus never said “EWWWWW!” to anybody! Jesus knows what is in the hearts of all people (John 2:25); He knew that the men and women drawing near to Him were sinners. He also knew what kind of people the religious leaders were: sinners. Jesus knew full well that there is no one righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10).
Now think about this: Jesus would have been more than justified to send all of them away — tax collectors and teachers of the law alike — because all of them were sinners! But that’s not what our Lord did. He welcomed those who knew they were sinners and were not hiding behind the flimsy fig leaves of proud, self-righteous, unholy religiosity. And Jesus still welcomes sinners today — people like you and me. As He said so sweetly, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (Matthew 9:12).
Here is one more thing for us to consider: Not only did Jesus refuse to say, “EWWWWW!” the day He welcomed you into His presence, but He continues to refuse to say, “EWWWWW!” to anything you do. He is not embarrassed by your behavior. He is not shamed by your sin. Jesus died to have you in relationship with Him, and He has promised never to leave nor forsake you. He may very well discipline you for willful sins, but He will never desert you. You have His Word on that.
“EWWWWW!” is simply not in the vocabulary of our Lord when it comes to those who turn to Him, by grace through faith. Once you are His, you are His forevermore. Even when we are faithless, He remains faithful to us (2 Timothy 2:13).
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!