I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Luke 5:32 NASB)
Sometimes I feel sorry for the scribes and Pharisees. They were busy obeying laws, but, for a large number of them, the spirit of the law had long been left behind. Their interpretations of the law, once probably meant to explain and clarify, had taken on the status of law as well. It had resulted in greatly expanding the number of rules to follow, as well as the complexity of those rules and regulations.
The sad thing about living by a mountain of rules is that, when your focus is on a list of do's and don't's it's easy to equate obedience to the rules with righteousness. It's clear that Jesus saw things a little differently. Completing a good deed checklist was not enough. He wanted heart change as well.
Imagine the relief of the Pharisees with their completed checklists when Jesus said He had not come to call the righteous! They might have looked at the rough crowd that had attended Matthew's party and thought, "Good! He's not trying to get me to eat with them, too!"
When you THINK you are righteous, you don't realize you need a Savior. Jesus came to call those who are sinners and know that they are sinners. Why? Because people who recognize their sinfulness often recognize that there is eventually a payday for sin. They are much more likely to recognize their need for a Savior.
Scripture is clear on this fact. We are all sinners. It is equally clear that some of us (corporate human race) recognize that we are sinners and some of us do not. Which are we?
Pray today that we and our loved ones would stop long enough to recognize that WE (as well as they) are sinful to our core and desperately need the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ, by whose sacrificial shedding of His own blood at Calvary we are cleansed. Pray, too, for more than recognition of sin. Pray for an embracing of our Savior and the life He came to give.