Journal Mark 2 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)


Scripture: “And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples (for there were many that followed him.)


And the scribes of the Pharisees (when they saw that [Jesus] was eating with sinners and tax collectors), said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”


And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “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 2:15-17)


Observation: Reputations. Who do I hang out with? Who are ok to hang out with? Should I have a “religious-based” distinction? Should I care about my “reputation?” Should I fear for my life, or being tempted?


Application: This passage is puzzling in a way to try and put an absolute to it. Should I find that hanging out with the unrighteous is ok, or should I avoid ‘those heathen sinners?’


What if that describes my family? My work friends? Shucks, even churchy people?


I think that one of the main points in this passage (if not THE main point) is making distinctions. Perhaps the sin is found in making distinctions, period.


“[Jesus] also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and treated others with contempt: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all I get.’


But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God! Be merciful to me, a sinner.’


I tell you, this man (the tax collector) went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be justified.’” Luke 18:9-14


Anyone who has a head on their shoulders can see the Pharisee is not justified in their attitude and therefore, no matter their religious significance in society, is in the wrong before God. So, if I am in the temple, then saddle up next to the tax collector and humble myself.


That is the temple. But what if I am at Applebee’s? Or how about their unbelieving/weak sibling or adult child who is living in sin with another consenting adult? What should my attitude be then?


I can talk about any Sunday School answer, from either side. Of course, love must find a way—but, candidly, I am struggling. Do I get haughty and condemning or do I get complacent and accommodating? How do I stand up for the Faith with someone I am close to? What do I do if I need to stand up to my Pharisee relative? What if I am (gasp) the Pharisee?


The only straightforward response I can wield is to the Face in the Mirror—otherwise, the answer can be cloudy and murky and full of questions of personal motivation.


For those looking for an answer, aspire to always be the tax collector, not the Pharisee. Otherwise…


Prayer: Lord God, please give me wisdom to represent the Gospel well. I don’t want to be a bullheaded fool for You and not learn how to be persistent in showing the way to the Gospel.



Ricky Two Shoes