He ate with sinners
so that you might know his grace and power—Rabanus
It is a seldom-preached theme—the
condescension of Christ. But consider how low our Lord stooped so that we
might have His mercy:
He came in the flesh, born like the rest of us. C. S. Lewis pictured it
as turning yourself into a barnacle—to save the other barnacles. Nothing
but pure love would move Him to this. The King James Version phrased it
eloquently: He “emptied Himself.”
also, that He did not seek to be a member of the pious and learned. He
came to seek and save the lost. So we find him dining with sinners, to
the disgust of the religious leaders of His time.
ultimate in this is the Crucifixion. He went voluntarily to a horrible
death to be the salvation of those same sinners.
He ate with sinners!
was noted for eating with real sinners, not just the pious who realized that
all have sinned. Sinners whose reputations were earned—men like Matthew,
who betrayed his people to be a tax collector for the invading Romans.
When Matthew was called to follow Jesus, his first reaction was to throw a
party—and invite all the other sinners too.
was not a grudging participation. Indeed, Jesus was the life of the
party. Remember the water turned into wine? Do you not recall how
His disciples were not fasting, simply because He was with them?
It is impossible to make light
dirty; especially the Light of the World.
Do you see it? We sometimes say that Jesus was not
afraid to dine with sinners. Afraid? He enjoyed it. We are
told that when a sinner comes home, the angels in heaven rejoice. How
much more, then, when Matthew accepted the call, will Jesus party with
him? When Zaccheus repents, Jesus says, “This day is salvation come to
this house.” If His grace flows even to the worst of society, how can it
not flow to all who will have it?
But this is not merely good wishes; His grace is accompanied
by power. Who among us could spend our lives among prostitutes and drug
dealers and not be dragged into sin? But His grace comes with the power
of the Resurrection. Even the vilest offender can receive effective
pardon from our Lord.
As you take the cup and the bread, remember that His grace
extends to you, no matter what you have done. And He has the power to
back that up. Remember the sacrifice that made this effective for us—and
the one Who gave so much that we might live.