Eating With Sinners

We find a remarkable story of love in Matt 9:9:13.  We see how Jesus changed the narrative of the common culture of that day.  Jesus ate with sinners.  He didn’t only associate with the people in His church. After reading about Jesus’ actions, maybe we will associate with people who aren’t like us.  You’ve seen them.  The ones who don’t want to wear a suit and tie to church.  Or the ones that have a lot of tattoos and piercing.  Or even the ones that wear those short, tight and revealing clothing.  Yeah, the ones who aren’t any better or worse than we are.  Hopefully, the love of Christ will radiate from us so much that they will voluntarily change their behavior and want to follow Christ.  This might work if we love the “hell” out of them so they can want the heaven we all seek to go to.  The exterior isn’t what’s important…we want them to have a heart for the Lord.

Matt 9:9.  Jesus approaches one of the most despised men in Jewish society.  Jesus actually asked a tax collector to be one of His followers.  This had to shock the Jewish sensibilities.  Tax collectors were considered traders to the Jewish life, culture and people.  Rabbi’s typically allowed the best students to be their disciples.  Yet, Jesus chose an unexpected person to be His follower.

Matt 9:10.  Matthew (also known as Levi [Mark 2:14)]) asked Jesus and the disciples to eat at his house.  This too had to be a shocked to everyone.  It was a privilege to eat with someone, especially at their house.  To “break bread” was a sign of friendship and honor.  Jesus didn’t hesitate to go to uncharted areas.  Yet, Matthew didn’t simply have Jesus over for a regular supper.  Matthew “held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor” (Luke 5:29).

Matt 9:11.  The Pharisees reacted as most Jews would’ve.  Today, many of us look at the Pharisees reactions with disdain.  Lets readjust the lens which we are viewing this situation.  You and I would have probably reacted the same way if we had lived in this culture and at that time.  Remember, Matthew was still known as a Tax Collector to all the people.  Also, prior to Jesus’ actions, the Jewish people didn’t associate with Tax Collectors.

The Pharisees called Matthew scum.  It’s likely, the Jewish people had similar words to express their disdain for Tax Collectors.  In actuality, Matthew had invited “other disreputable sinners” (Mark 2:15)

Matt 9:12-13.  Jesus provided the Pharisees with His Mission and Purpose Statements of sorts. Jesus said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do.” Jesus then told them to reread the Scriptures and see what you really should be doing.  Mark’s Gospel’s account provides an excellent understanding of this.  Mark says, “I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners” (Mark 2:17).  Luke adds, “know they are sinners and need to repent.”

We learn that Jesus was more concerned with mercy than sacrifices.

Questions:  How merciful are you?  How often to you provide genuine love to someone?  How can you be more merciful to unbelievers this week?

Jesus said He came for those who know they are sinners and need to repent.  Sadly, in today’s society, many people don’t know they need to repent.  I hope today you will take up Jesus’s call and help show society they are sinners and need to repent.

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