10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE MERCY AND NOT SACRIFICE.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matthew 9:10-13)
Some use the fact that Jesus ate “sinners” to justify not explaining sin to the sinner. (One might recall that every person Jesus ate with was a “sinner”, since “all have sinned”!). The issue is not that Jesus ate with sinners, but rather what did Jesus do when He ate with sinners? Did He ignore their sin? No. Did He redefine their sin? No. Did He rationalize their sin? No. Jesus identified their sin, presented Himself and His truth as the solution to their sin, and called the sinners to repent of their sins. Thus, the Son of God shows us the meaning of the mercy he desires us to show those lost in sin. As our Master did, let us call sinners to repentance, pointing them to Jesus, the Savior of the world.