“I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are
entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.”
When you Google Who’s who you can find out who are the movers and shakers of society in our day. There are registries for people from most walks of life where they may qualify to become registered on various sites. A person needs to have made some significant contribution to their field of endeavour in order to qualify.
We can spend a lot of time looking at the accomplishments of various people and muse on what it would be like to be such an individual. Such achievements we read about on the various sites seem well out of the reach of most of us.
Recognition by the world and also the industry we work in is usually a highly desirable thing to have. No one would find fault with a desire for recognition of one’s accomplishments in life. However, there can be a strange twist in this desire for recognition by those around us. Jesus speaks to this matter in the context of our verse for today.
The religious leaders who confronted Jesus were a class of people who lived to be recognized by others. In Matthew 23:5-7 Jesus says of them, “Everything they do is done for men to see…they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them “Rabbi””.
Jesus is teaching us that in the kingdom of God there are no “Who’s who” lists like the ones in this life. God is not impressed by university degrees or titles received by industry. While He did enter the homes of the rich and famous at times, He was most often in the presence of the people spurned by normal society. People such as the ones referred to in our verse today.
The point of Jesus’ comment is that those who are not in the mainstream of society, those who have broken the rules of life by graft (tax collectors of the day), sexual sin (prostitution) or other things, are usually the first to recognize the need for reformation of life. They are the ones who are the first to seek forgiveness from their Creator. Thus, they are the ones who enter the kingdom of God first.
Perhaps today I have readers who are not having the lifestyle of most. You may be a single mom, or possibly you were abandoned by your parents as a child (like a young man I was told about recently). You may have a broken marriage, or you had a child when you were not married and the father is nowhere to be found. Whatever your issue, you are sought after by Jesus.
Jesus came for those people who recognize they are not able to cope with life on their own. Jesus’ mission is to find and reform people with special needs. Perhaps you need to look again into the Bible and learn about the One who is Father to the fatherless, and the Defender of the widow’s cause (Deuteronomy 10:18). Jesus will give a new heart and a new direction of life to all who pray and seek His forgiveness for the past and His strength for the future.
No matter how far you may be away from your Creator you may come to Him immediately through Jesus for all the help you need to cope now and to become one of God’s Who’s Who in eternity.