Jesus answered them, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Luke 5:31-32 (Read Luke 5:27-32)
It was not those who thought themselves to be righteous who came to Jesus, but the tax collectors and sinners -- those who knew of their utter sinfulness and need for a Savior.
Though the scribes and Pharisees faulted Jesus for associating with such sinners, Jesus associated with them because He "came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15), and "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10; cf. v. 1-10).
It is as Jesus said to them: "Those who are well do not need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
How comforting this is to us sinners! Jesus is our friend! He came into this world to save us! He shed His holy and precious blood upon the cross to make atonement for sinners like you and like me! "In Him [through faith in His name] we have redemption through His blood and the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7; cf. 1 John 2:1-2).
Were the scribes and Pharisees sinners? Yes, they were (cf. Rom. 3:10ff.)! But they thought they were righteous and acceptable to God by their own works. They misunderstood God's Word and saw no need of repentance or for a Savior to make atonement for their sins. And, sadly, many do the same in our own day. They fail to see their own utter sinfulness and their need of the Savior and they are unwilling to believe the Gospel.
Jesus came to call us to repentance and to give us life eternal through faith in Him.
And, following the example of our Lord Jesus, we too can reach out to and associate with sinners, not to join in their evil ways, but to call them to repentance and to share with them the comforting news that Jesus is the friend of sinners -- that He died for their sins, too, and that He reaches out to them and offers to them forgiveness of sins and life everlasting through faith in His name!
O dearest Jesus, we thank You for being the friend of sinners -- for shedding Your holy and precious blood to redeem us, and for calling us to repent and trust in You for forgiveness and life everlasting. Amen.
[Devotion by Randy Moll. Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.