“But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, ‘Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!’” (8)
Peter is the first official disciple recruited and he throws it way out there that he’s not a conventional choice. He is soon followed by his co-workers, James and John, then a tax collector. The Pharisees are quick to notice Jesus’ posse is definitely rag-tag.
What do these guys have in common, then? Why would they be Jesus’ first picks? I dare say the answer can be found in Peter’s initial response. He is aware of himself enough to be truly humble.
While throughout Peter’s journey, we see him dips in and out of prideful moments, but there’s an overarching sense that he knows he’s in over his head. He’s not the kind of person any previous Rabbi would have recruited.
“The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?’” (30)
Jesus is definitely fraternizing with the “wrong folks”, but His response only goes to show how way off the Pharisees are that they would avoid such people.
Sliding into religiosity can have this effect. If not paying attention, a Christian can easily end up surrounded entirely by fellow believers. That social circle becomes a weird kind of elite.
The LORD is still pursuing humble, teachable people of all shapes, sizes, colors, class, etc. He very often is found outside expected zones.
I love how, back in chapter 4, Jesus says (paraphrased), “you think there weren’t widows in Israel I could have sent Elijah to during the famine? I sent him to Sidon! Did you notice that the only man Elisha healed from leprosy was Syrian? That wasn’t an accident!”
He who has ears, let them hear.
Jesus’ own people–the usual suspects–were going to miss this. While he still chose Jewish disciples, he chose very unlikely ones. The ones who didn’t really fit in to their own society. Interesting.
Jesus can baffle us at times, but it’s important to stay engaged and ask, why. What does it say about us if we know Him, aka, He drew us in? Are you an unconventional recruit?