*This devotion was taken from the devotions Pastor Frankie wrote on Jesus' life and mailed to the children of EVNaz. These devotional books can be found at www.evnaz.org/kidsmatterministries.
“After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’”
“’But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.’”
When Jesus was on earth, tax collectors were very unpopular because they sometimes made people pay unfair amounts of money in taxes. The Pharisees and teachers of the law started complaining because Jesus was friendly to a tax collector named Levi. But Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (Luke 5:31). He said that He came to help the sinners, not the righteous. Jesus does not limit His love. He loves everyone just the same.
We can love and accept others even if we don’t like what they do. It is easy to want to avoid others who often do wrong. The Bible says that we shouldn’t be concerned about what another person is doing, but rather we should be concerned about our own actions because each of us will give an account of himself to God (Romans 14:12).
The Bible also tells us that we should pray for people who mistreat us (Luke 6:28). For example, if a child is not fun to play with because he/she will not share toys, it is easy to reject him/her and choose not to play with him/her. But Jesus would rather that we pray for the one who is selfish, asking that he/she will learn to share.
Help me to treat others the way you would treat them. Help me to love others just like you do. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Questions to think about . . .
1. Why did the people judge Jesus?
2. What did they think He was doing wrong?
3. What do some of your friends do wrong?
4. Does God love them?
5. How can you be like Jesus and be a “doctor” for your friends when they sin?