Jesus calls unlikely people and uses the foolish things of this world to glorify himself. Why? In choosing unlikely people and foolish things, Jesus ensures that God’s glory is not given to man. The wise and talented would be tempted to claim honor for himself based on his good works or abilities. But Jesus makes that impossible by choosing people and things that the world scoffs at. He sits with tax collectors and sinners because they are sick and perceive the need for healing. Once again, the Pharisees miss the point. They do not think of themselves as sick and thus do not perceive an illness. They have little use for a doctor or a man who keeps company with sinnners.
God cares little for our religious speeches and habits if we do not show mercy to sinners. I believe this is an area in all of us that may need a bit of refining. I would certainly count myself in that group.
Matthew 9:9-13 (ESV)
9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”