You know what I like about Jesus? He really liked people who were nothing like Him. As a matter of fact, the "religious" people of the day were the people Jesus tended to actually avoid. What did He call them... a brood of vipers? We don't hear that terminology today - but it was strong language at that time.
Why do you suppose that was? Do you honestly think He thinks differently today?
Jesus is God in the flesh. He came to the earth in human form so that He could relate to us. He wanted to communicate with us. Yes, He loves all people, but...
Let me ask you a question. Do you find it easy to talk to people who are know it alls? Are arrogant, prideful people eager to hear anything you have to say?
No. If they deign to speak to you at all it is usually in the context of them imparting some type of information.
I'm not trying to say that some people are better than others and I'm sure Jesus doesn't feel that way at all. He died for the sins of the world - not a few select favorites.
Jesus wants to communicate with us. He, however, recognizes that we are all in different places in our life. There are times that we will listen and times we won't. When we are in our prime, feeling good about ourselves and our ability to work in the world around us, we tend to be unable to see beyond ourselves. Why should we? The world we have established around us is just fine, thank you very much.
But when that world starts to fall apart - and it always eventually does - God begins to look pretty good. What worked in the past, well, isn't working any more. We get sick inside.
Problem is, we've always been sick. We just didn't know it. Reminds me of cancer. In the earliest stage it isn't even detected. When a person is in stage 1, 2 and sometimes even stage 3 they do whatever they can do. Diet becomes more important. We may go to the medical community for help. Perhaps chemotherapy and radiation will be paths we choose to take. But at some point in time when things go from bad to worse...people finally look to God.
Why wait that long?
One reason is because it isn't until then that they recognize that the sickness that threatens to kill them is more than they can handle.
Remember the religious people of Jesus's day - the Pharisee's? They were always complaining about Jesus. Sure, He healed people...but he also had the audacity to ask Matthew - a tax collector - to follow Him. Hey, tax collectors were considered to be such bad people that they were a category all to themselves. There were the sinners...and the tax collectors.
Of course, the scribes and Pharisees didn't approve of Jesus having anything to do with "those people". In Luke 5:27-31 it says:
Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi (we know him as Matthew) sitting at his tax collector's booth. "Follow me and be my disciple," Jesus said to him.
So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.
Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi's fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them.
But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus' disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with such scum? [fn]"
Jesus answered them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor - sick people do."