Jesus was teaching the people in the region of Galilee and having compassion. He taught from Simon’s (Peter) boat on the western shore of the sea of Galilee. There, he gave Simon and his partners a great catch of fish; they left their business, and their family, to follow Jesus. Jesus healed a man covered with leprosy and told him to go and make an offering to the priest, just as Moses commanded, as a testimony to them. The Pharisees and teachers of the law had heard about Jesus, so they came to see for themselves. They called it blasphemy when Jesus told a paralyzed man that his sins were forgiven. In answer, Jesus healed the paralyzed man, though he was carried in on a stretcher, he walked out on his own two legs. A tax collector named Levi (Matthew) began to follow Jesus and Jesus with his disciples, ate and drank at Levi’s house, with a great crowd of tax collectors and other people. The Pharisees and the scribes could not understand why Jesus associated with men that they considered sinners. Nor could they not understand why his disciples ate and drink, while other religious men were fasting and offering prayers. The answer that Jesus gave indicated a change in religious practice was afoot.
It seems that the common man and people that the religious considered sinners, were being attracted to Jesus. Though Jesus performed many signs and wonders in their midst, the religious would not come, because they were unwilling to associate with men whom they considered sinners and were unwilling to practice religion in a way that they were not accustomed.
If Jesus were teaching and practicing today, would I be willing to set aside my prejudice and follow him? Would I be willing to associate with the lowly and with sinners? Would I be willing to do things that change my customs? These are questions that we should ask ourselves, rather than judge the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. For I am a religious man and I have studied theology. May I always be in the business of teaching and having compassion. “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (Jn 1:16, NKJV)