Summary: Do we spend all of our time inside the church walls, or do we spend so much time out in the community serving others that we start to smell less like sheep and a little more like sinners?
Do We Smell Like Sinners?
I titled the lesson “Do We Smell Like Sinners?” There’s a book titled “Do They Smell Like Sheep” which was written for church leadership and you can probably figure out the gist of the book from the title.
But, I want to challenge each of us to smell like sinners. Let me explain before you get up in arms.
Jesus during His ministry here on earth spent His time with sinners. He knew that it was the sinner who needed Him more than anyone else. In Mark 2:17 Jesus said “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
In Matthew 11:19 Jesus acknowledges that He is known as a friend of sinners. The verse says “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’”
You see Jesus spent so much time with sinners that the religious leaders, the church going people, accused Him of being a friend of sinners.
Let’s go back to Mark 2 and read the whole story, let’s read verse 13-17.
New International Version (NIV)
13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
So, here we have a story of Jesus calling a tax collector to follow Him. We all know the reputation tax collectors had back then and how much people despised them. Then Jesus goes even further. He goes to Levi’s house and many of Levi’s friends who were also sinners and tax collectors were there too. Jesus was having dinner at a sinner’s house and the sinner had all of his sinner buddies over. I can only imagine the comments I would hear if one of our brethren was seen in such a situation. I imagine some of us might react pretty much the same way the Pharisees reacted when they saw Jesus hanging out with sinners. We would question their Christianity and talk to all of church friends about what we saw. Well, Jesus overhead the Pharisees asking His disciples why he was eating with sinners and Jesus took the opportunity to teach them a lesson. He responded that it is the sick who need a doctor, not the healthy and that He didn’t come to call the righteous, but the sinners. You see with Jesus it’s always about the heart.