In Luke Chapter 5, Jesus was invited to a different sort of party with a different kind of crowd. Jesus had just called Levi, the tax collector, to become one of His disciples. In celebration of Levi’s new calling, Levi held a banquet at his house and invited all his friends. Once the Pharisees and teachers of the law heard about the party, they complained about Jesus hanging out with such a shameful group of “sinners”. Jesus responded to the Pharisees and teachers of the law by saying the people who knowingly sin are the people who need me.
In the days of Jesus, tax collectors were not considered fine, upstanding citizens. Many times tax collectors were known to skim off the top to pad their own pockets. Whatever shady business practices Levi may have conducted, Jesus looked passed the sin in Levi’s life and saw the potential for greatness.
Jesus looked passed my sin and saw my potential as well. I spent a long time in the throes of mania and depression. My mental illness, coupled with the baggage of my upbringing, created a toxic environment where I made a multitude of unwise decisions. Many of the decisions were unsafe and risky. When I was finally diagnosed and during my therapy since, I have come to terms with the mistakes I have made.
With all the mistakes heaped one on top of another, there have been times when I have felt I was too far gone. My sins were far too great and I had this heavy load I was carrying around. It was as if I heard the voices of the Pharisees in my mind constantly reminding me of my sins.
The Bible says “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:5). Jesus took the penalty for my sins to the cross and nailed it there forever. I can live in peace and live as a healed person because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
Jesus came for people like me, who was lost in sin and who needed a savior (Luke 19:10). He extends His offer of freedom from sin to you, as well. Have you accepted it? Are you willing to open your heart to Him? If you have already accepted His gift of freedom from sin, be sure to spend some time thanking Him today.