One of my favorite Gospel accounts is when Jesus approaches Levi (Matthew) the tax collector and, with two words: ‘Follow Me’, Matthew drops everything and becomes an apostle.
Why I find this so reassuring is that tax collectors were the scum of humanity – traitors to the Jewish people. It was inconceivable to Scribes and Pharisees that Jesus would even talk to a tax collector; let alone asking Him to be a part of His entourage.
But note: Jesus didn’t say to Matthew, “First, you stop sinning; then, you come to Me!” No, Jesus’ offer is immediate.
Did you ever buy something used, like a car, and you are told that you are buying it “as is?” That phase underscores the idea that whatever it is you are buying is deficient, or worn. Well, be in awe, for Jesus is buying us, ‘as is.’
We come to Him, knowing we are not worthy, knowing we are broken, knowing we are sinners. As Jesus first said to Peter, He says this to all of us, no matter how far you have strayed ‘Fear not.’
Remarkably, Christ, our God, loves each of us and asks us to follow Him just as we are. Many people have it backwards. They think that they first have to somehow become holy before they can come to church.
However, the church is a hospital where we meet The Physician of our Souls, Jesus Christ, who welcomes us just as we are.
Don’t believe it? Then, to quote another favorite bit of Holy Scripture, “Come and see!”