Dinner With Sinners
16 February 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 9:9-13 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. 10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” 12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Matthew 9:9–13 NLT)
Jesus saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. Matthew was considered a traitor by many Jews for becoming a contract tax collector for Rome. The job itself tilted toward dishonesty and abuse. But Jesus saw something in Matthew no one else saw. Jesus called him to be his disciple. By the way, Matthew (or Levi as he was also known) became one of Jesus’ apostles and is the author of this Gospel we’re reading our way through!
Matthew quickly arranged a “Dinner with Sinners” and invited Jesus to his home for dinner with his friends and business associates from the shady world of tax collection! Jesus was hated and opposed by people who think they are righteous, but he was a friend of people who know they are sinners. “Disreputable sinners” seem to have been among Jesus’ favorites!
Friends, as we journey together through the Gospels, I hope you’ll notice with me how seldom Jesus was opposed by the secular Jews, the foreign Samaritans, and the occupying Romans. Also, how often Jesus was opposed by the Jewish religious leaders who were in charge of “Temple, Inc!” There’s an important awareness to acquire and lesson to learn for us who represent Christ in our world. Jesus hasn’t changed at all in his love for “disreputable sinners”, and performance-based religion hasn’t changed in its tendency to exclude and condemn those who don’t believe or behave in an acceptable manner.
Father, Please help my friends and I to understand more clearly what it means that Jesus is a friend of disreputable sinners. I know I need to have more “Dinners with Sinners”, the same folks Jesus came to call into the Kingdom of Heaven!