Our Devotion for today is taken from: Amazing Grace Devotions for Lent by Michael Hoy.
10 And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples.
Matthew 9:10 NRSV
FRIEND OF SINNERS
The presence of Jesus at the same table with sinners and tax collectors was an incredible display of grace. Tax collectors and prostitutes were regarded as pariahs. Tax collectors were especially looked down upon. They not only worked with the oppressive occupying Romans, but they regularly charged people more than what was owed and kept the difference for themselves.
One tax collector was Matthew, who would renounce his former practice and begin his new life when he was called to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus risked his own reputation to be sitting with this lot. He would be branded a “friend of sinners and tax collectors” (Luke 7:34). But he bore that label, and any guilt by association, all the way to the cross. His presence brought inclusion and reconciliation for those who had no hope for such favor, not only before others, but before God. That’s good news for us!
I invite you to re-read Michael’s reflection and be reminded that no matter what others think of us, Jesus invites us to sit at his table.
Lord Jesus, we give you thanks that you are our friend, and that you welcome us to your table of forgiveness and mercy. Amen.