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Tax Collectors and Sinners

There was commotion at the windows. What are they doing here? he thought.

He had not expected to meet this famed teacher, let alone dine with him at his table. He had been minding his own business, collecting taxes for the Romans. It was his job; sure, he took a little off the top, but who wouldn’t?

But then he had looked up at the next person in line at his tax booth, and there he was—the man everyone was talking about.

“Follow me,” he had said, and began walking away.

The man hadn’t thought twice; something within his soul compelled him to follow the teacher. So he rose and followed him. He looked behind him as he heard scuffling on the path; others were following, too, and they weren’t the greatest kind of people—there was a colleague from the tax guild; that man was an infamous pick-pocket; and that women, she was the type men only saw in private.

After a few moments, he had realized where they were going—his house!

“Yes, Lord.” He rushed to the teacher’s side. “Please, come in and eat at my table.”

The teacher had turned to the rest. “Come, all of you, eat with me.”

And now, in the middle of this amazing, unexpected meal, religious leaders were crowding the widows, peering in with their pious, self-righteous scowls.

He overheard one of them speak to another of the teacher’s followers. “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Those who are well have no need of a physician,
but those who are sick.
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.
Mark 2:17

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is director of doctoral worship studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.