Mark 2:13-18 the Tax Collector
It has struck me recently that I read this passage and deny the application. I realise that sounds strange, because Jesus shows a very practical example of love, but I find myself thinking ‘I don’t know prostitutes or tax collectors. I will leave this job for those who do.’
In this passage, we see Jesus eating with the lowest of the low in society at that time. When we translate that into our context, it’s easy to link to people who you associate with obviously bad behaviour.
It is easy to rule out or overlook those in our little worlds who aren’t obviously sinful in this way. It is easy because they live a very similar life to ours. They seem to make good decisions that lead to ‘success’ and can determine the trajectory of their life. They play god, as we ourselves so often do. But most importantly, they are comfortable and show little or no need for practical support, so we excuse ourselves from the duty of sharing Jesus.
Let’s say we know the nuclear family next door. Two nice cars, own their home, all the latest gadgets, shop at M&S…you get the picture. When we are looking out for people to invite to our table to show the radical love of Jesus, they aren’t the obvious pick. Instead, we can find ourselves looking at for those with the loud, obvious need.
Sometimes, I think it is easy to overlook those whose lives that are just like ours. Comfortable. Secure. Those that have control over their decisions and can point their life down a certain path and determine the outcome.
They are playing god, much like we often do. And that, ladies and gentlemen (me), is why they need to be at our table.
So, instead of having an empty table because we can’t find the ‘tax collectors and prostitutes’ of our time, maybe we should just look to the family next door, or the colleague opposite you, or your oldest childhood friend and invite them to your table to hear the Good News.