A Message to Sinners Only
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
SINNERS WERE AND STILL ARE Christ's special and extremely important mission. This mission brought Him down from Heaven, out of His Father's embrace. For sinful mankind, Christ descended from the heavens and came into the world...
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It was a joyful
day when Christ, on His way to Jericho, met Zacchaeus. The chief tax collector
had climbed up into a sycamore tree in an effort to see Jesus closely. What
Christ did then was astonishing. When He saw him, the Lord said, "Zacchaeus,
make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today" (Luke
Levi, like Zacchaeus, was a sinner. He was a tax collector, a position of fraud, theft, and of mixing with Gentiles. Christ entered his house, and Levi made Him a great feast. Naturally, many tax collectors and other sinners were invited. Jesus sat, ate and drank with these sinners. His friendship to them infuriated the Scribes and Pharisees. They confronted His disciples about their Teacher eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners. Then came the reply, which this story compels us to seek: "And Jesus answered them, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:31,32.)
Christ came for the sake of sinners. He descended from heaven, incarnate in human form, suffered, was nailed on the cross and died for the sake of sinners alone. The pain He suffered and the scorn he endured were extremely severe, all for the sake of sinners. St. Peter's insight into this fact is considered the fundamental core on which Christian theology was established:
He Himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Peter 2:24.)
In summary, this is how it happened. Jesus was judged in the court of the Jews, charged with many sins. He did not answer, but remained silent. He was then judged by a Roman court, also accused of many heavy sins. When Pontius Pilate asked Him to answer these charges, He did not answer or defend Himself, which dismayed the Roman Judge. But Christ the secret to Himself, the secret that He accepted upon Himself all the sins for which He was blamed. The judgment for all these sins was crucifixion on a cross. He accepted crucifixion, bearing our sins in His torn body on the cross. Hence, the judgment of the cross was justified and Christ accepted it.
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