Once again he went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard this and said to them that, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”Mark 2:13-17
The Divine Physician
Who would be surprised to find a physician among the sick? Jesus, the Divine Physician, was in the right company among those seeking wholeness and healing. “To blame Jesus for mingling with sinners would be like blaming a physician for stooping down over suffering and putting up with vile smells in order to heal the sick,” writes St. Gregory Nazianzen (Second Oration on Easter).
Restoring the Lost
Taking on lowly flesh, Jesus flowed to the lowest places to fill them with his glory. But self-sufficient creatures abhor his grace. The proud and self-righteous, whom Jesus does not attract, criticize him for befriending the dregs of society. Scripture, however, testifies that “none is righteous” (Romans 3:10, ESV).
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.Psalm 14:3 (ESV)
Not the self-righteous, but the forgiven and restored, join the company of Jesus and his brethren in the heart of the Father.
Shepherd of Love
Levi and his friends flocked to Jesus, a shepherd willing to embrace his sheep in order to lead them to green pastures.
Tax collectors and Levi dined with the Physician,
Who called not the righteous but sinners to contrition.