Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees for eating with tax collectors and sinners. When they see Jesus reclining in Matthew’s house with many sinners, the Pharisees criticize Him to His disciples, not to His face. But, Jesus hears. He says to them, “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ In this statement, Jesus refers to God the Father who commands, ‘I desire steadfast love, and not burnt offerings.’ (Hosea 6:6, ESV)
Jesus reminds the Pharisees and His own disciples that He comes to earth “not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13)
Of course, what’s interesting is that there are no righteous people — no people who are healthy, holy, righteous, who have no need of God. These people do not exist. Jesus tells the religious leaders that if they believe they can see, then they remain blind.
“If [you] say [you] have no sin, [you] deceive [yourself], and the truth is not in [you.]” (1 John 1:8) But with confession of sin, Jesus “is faithful and just to forgive [you] [your] sins and to cleanse [you] from all unrighteousness. If [you] say [you] have not sinned, [you] make [God] a liar, and His Word is not in [you.]” (1 John 1:9-10)
Learn this important truth — that Jesus comes to save you, a sinner lost. He seeks you with the same diligence of a shepherd who goes out into the dark, driving weather to find the wandering lamb. When He locates you, Jesus picks you up and slings you gently across His shoulders. He carries you to safe pasture, and keeps you there. His crook is firm, gentle, unyielding and He holds it against your neck whenever you stray. You now belong to Him.