"Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, 'Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?'” Matthew 9:10-11
Jesus was never popular with the religious elite of his time. There were groups of scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees, who themselves differed in some very fundamental ways, but together made up the ruling council that governed the religious and social life of the people of God. They criticized everything that Jesus said and did and were constantly seeking opportunity to shame, discredit and ultimately kill him.
The interesting thing about these groups is that what should have been their main concern, in effect, was not. Rather than seeing to the needs of the people and doing all they could to shepherd them to godliness, they were often more concerned with position, pride, pomp and circumstance. When Jesus came along clarifying and advancing the spirit of the Law rather than the letter of the Law to which they so strictly adhered, it created problems that they wanted to resolve in his death. They should have known that that is why the Messiah was to come in the first place.
So it was that when Jesus went about the business of "seeking and saving the lost," those who should have been doing just that in anticipation of his arrival, withstood him for it.
Beloved, as Christians, the people of God, if you will, we should never withstand good being done. We should never judge those who are coming to Christ. Far too often, the church, whose main mission is to seek and save the lost through love and obedience to our heavenly Father, do the opposite by creating barriers to those who would come. Stories abound about homosexuals, fornicators, drunkards, abusers, thieves and other sinners being turned away at the doors of the worship facility because they are sinners. In so doing, we are exemplifying the adversaries of Christ more so than Christ himself. This is not to say that we are to endorse sin or turn a blind eye to it. The word of God is crystal clear about the dangers of sin and the prohibition against it. If we, however, do not display love and compassion toward the lost, how can they possibly be saved? How can we call ourselves Christians? And interestingly enough, there are none of us that were not ourselves bought out of sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
As we model the one who saved us from our sin, let us all endeavor to be more compassionate toward those who have yet to be saved. There is plenty of time and opportunity to teach righteousness but it will not materialize if we are not first welcoming as we ourselves have been welcomed.