"But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:30-32)
Jesus was, and still is, a friend to sinners! For that, I am indeed grateful.
Now, that being said, let us look at this passage in a little more detail.
The scribes were lawyers. They were experts in the written scriptures. They made hand-written copies of the scriptures, and were very careful not to change anything. They meticulously copied punctuation marks, capital letters, and made no variables in text, whatsoever! You know as well as I, when you write something repeatedly, you learn it. Well, the scribes knew the scriptures. But, they did not know what they said. They were blinded to their meaning.
The Pharisees were a super religious sect of the Jews. They were teachers of the scriptures, and were also very zealous about enforcing the laws of Moses. Their organization was formed about three to four hundred years before Christ, in a time when Israel needed teachers of the Word. Sadly, over time, this organization became corrupt, hypocritical, and powerful. It became political, and the ambitious sought membership for personal gain. But, in their own sight, they were an elite group of very righteous people.
In this A. M. reading assignment, these two groups are bitter toward Jesus, because He is ministering to 'sinners'.
Publicans were considered traitors by the Hebrew culture. So, if you hung out with publicans, you were also considered a traitor.
Sinners were any other person who did not live as a Pharisee.
Jesus was being a little playful with them in their complaint.
1) He said that the whole didn't need a doctor. (v. 31) Jesus observed that the scribes and Pharisees thought that they were without sin, and had achieved perfection. Certainly, they had not!
2) He also said that He had come to call sinners to repentance, and not the righteous. (v. 32) I know that you have heard the old expression, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." That simply means, 'You may think your horse is thirsty, but until your horse thinks that he is thirsty, he won't take a drink.'
People are a lot like horses in that way. You may think they need salvation, but until they think they need salvation, they won't accept it.
Our Savior knew the hearts of the scribes and Pharisees. They did not see any need for Jesus in their lives, so it was a waste of time for Jesus to hang out with them, though He loved them.
Sinners, on the other hand, knew how desperately wicked they were, and were open and receptive unto the love of God.
Oh, how desperately we need to be less self-righteous, and more friendly to those who are lost in a sea of sin and debauchery!
This does not mean that we are to abandon what is good, and fall back into partnership with evil. No. But we are not to be 'holier-than-thou' in the way that we interact with those who are living in darkness.
Oh, how desperately we need to be more like Jesus!
From my heart to your heart.