Tax Collectors and Prostitutes

The crowds that followed and listened to Jesus the most are referred to as three groups: tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners. Two of those are specific professions, while the other is a general description of people who did not follow the God of the Bible. 

Prostitutes were women of the night who sold their bodies to have money to survive. There was always a willing client in a culture where men traveled by boat and horse for long distances for business. This type of work was widely accepted, and the people who did it were considered far from the grace of God.

Tax collectors are on the opposite side of the social spectrum. They had committed their lives to making money. They were wealthy but considered outsiders to the faith because of their taxation of the Jewish people. Their work was not godly, but it was hard to understand why they prospered while taking from God’s people.

I want to suggest that these two groups represent both sides of the same coin. On one side are the prostitutes who reached the bottom of society through a series of poor choices. On the other side are wealthy tax collectors who reached the pinnacle of society by making good financial choices. Yet, both of them reached the same place in life. Both realized that they were empty and in need of a Savior. They both saw that life without God was devoid of meaning and purpose. Both the poor streetwalker and the wealthy businessman were empty inside.

The natural human tendency is to quickly understand that prostitutes need Jesus and that tax collectors are okay without him. The truth is that people with great wealth are as empty as the hookers on the street. The gospel of Jesus is for both ends of the financial and social spectrum, along with everyone in between. 

So the next time you think, “Why would I share Jesus with them? They have their life altogether.” Remember that everyone needs Jesus.   

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