Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:1-2
Some are drawing near, yet some are drawing far.
The ones who were closing in to Jesus were sinners. They were publicly identified as sinners. No righteousness in their skin or in their heart. They have no academic knowledge of drawing near to God. All they know is to come closer to Jesus. All they know is that Jesus welcomes them. He searches for them. Jesus ate with them. He walked with them going to a dinner or a teaching session of sorts. He spoke with them in public even if they were known publicly. They felt significant when he is with them, when he took time with them, when he sat with them at the places where they would congregate.
The ones who were drawing far from Jesus were not sinners, at least for them. They were identified as righteous persons. Their piety is shown in their appearances but not sure if it has penetrated their hearts. They have an academic knowledge in drawing near to God. All they know is theory not practicality. That’s why they always put Jesus in the examination room. Yet, Jesus searches for them or they look for Jesus. Wherever they are, Jesus is there. Wherever Jesus is, there they are. Given their position, they should be near to him but they are far. They even question how they spend the Jesus welcomes and eats with the sinners. Not only they are drawing far from him, they are making people draw far from him.
What can you learn from both? You can choose to be near or far to Jesus.
Choose to draw near to Jesus. Accept you are a sinner. Accept you need a Lord and Savior. Accept you need to know him. Listen to him as he declares his unconditional love for you. Listen to Jesus and listen not to people who are putting a gap between you and him. He searches for you, search for him, too.
Don’t draw far from Jesus. Don’t prevent people to come close to him. Jesus left his throne to be near to people, make his trip worthwhile. Even as you grow in Christ, don’t let your head knowledge of him overcome your relationship with him. Let him sit with new members of your church or community. Let him eat with new believers. Be glad, he welcomed you as he welcomes them.
When given a pencil and a clean paper, you know what to sketch. Draw near.