Hoi Polloi is a Greek term that refers to the general citizens of a town or country. The elite of any society would not consider themselves as members of the hoi polloi. Jesus is not afraid of mixing with anyone; he even eats at the houses of tax collectors and sinners. Through these actions Jesus is clearly stating that the Gospel He preaches is not reserved for the rich and well connected. It is for everyone from the highest statesman and wealthiest businessman down to the poorest of the poor and the biggest of sinners!

In many ways the universal scope of the Gospel defines itself as good news. That is, so often in the ancient cultures the best was reserved for the elite and the rest of the people, well, they simply missed out and that was that! This is hardly an acceptable position for a God of love and so Jesus wastes no time in setting the record straight and making sure that it is obvious to all that no one is excluded from the gift of salvation, least of all, the general masses of humanity! This will become an important principle that the mission of Paul is dependent upon. It will also galvanize the Church into action in later centuries to take the Gospel to the pagan nations of the world.

Returning to the Gospel, we not only see Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners, but he calls one of them, Matthew (Levi in some versions of the Scriptures) to be one of His disciples. As far as the Pharisees are concerned this is a total scandal and it sets their hearts against Jesus. This is unfortunate in that it shuts their ears to hearing the full message of the Gospel to their own detriment! We must take care that we do not fall into the same trap of judging others and thus excluding them in our own minds from the grace of God. Jesus makes it abundantly clear that this is not for us to judge. Let us leave the judging, if there is any to be done, to the Lord who will be far more merciful and righteous than we could dream of being.

Furthermore, let us remain open to even the least expected of calls that He might make upon our lives. Let us not limit God’s ability to use us in the proclamation of His Kingdom by applying our own inadequate standards either to others or ourselves.

Jesus calls us all to follow Him. Have you heard Him calling you? Are you listening daily for the call like Samuel in the Old Testament?

Lord Jesus, you want us to learn the way of mercy and love. Drive far from my life any self-righteousness and pride that will hinder my growth in humility and discipleship. I pray that I will imitate you in all things.