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Healthcare workers take great pains to guard against disease. They wear protective gear and follow medical procedures carefully. We admire them for their courage in caring for people with deadly diseases like Ebola. Their courage reminds us of Jesus’ compassion for lepers and others whom society avoided. It happened once when He went to be a guest of Levi, a man Jesus had just called from his Roman tax collecting business to be His disciple. Levi, or Matthew, wanted his former tax collector friends to meet and hear Jesus. When the religious crowd saw Jesus eating with tax collectors, they were livid. How could Jesus, who claimed to be righteous, mix with the hated Romans who ripped off Jews? How could he associate with tax collectors who worked for the hated Romans? We read in Matthew 9 that the Pharisees saw this and asked Jesus’ disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, He said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do… I have come to call, not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Jesus here gives us a pattern of how to win some people to Himself. When He mixed with sinners, He never gave up His righteous standards to fit in. He was the standard. Yet His love for them was genuine and infectious. When our relationship with Jesus is tight and secure, we can be friendly and show love to others without staining our halo.

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