Did Jesus “Hang Out” with Sinners? — Advent Christian Voices
A New Year’s Resolution meme caught my eye while scrolling through Facebook the other day; it appeared to have been circulating since before the new year. I immediately recognized it. “This year, I pledge to be more like Jesus,” the message said, which is wonderful to hear. The list that followed had some excellent general objectives, such as “Love others more,” as well as some more quirky objectives, such as “Take naps on boats.” I was looking through all of the signs when I noticed one that struck out to me.
“Did Jesus actually ‘hang around’ with sinners?” the question ponders.
“Can you provide me a decent theological response to this question?” “Can you tell me what the creator of this meme meant by’sinners’?
This question can be difficult for individuals to answer, not because the scriptures are confused, but because the question itself is written in a strange manner and contains ambiguous language.
- Let us begin by considering some of the most prominent instances of Jesus “hanging out” with sinners.
- And he sprang to his feet and followed him, abandoning everything.
- “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” the Pharisees and their scribes said to his followers, who were chastised.
- In Matthew’s home, Jesus dines with them and reclines or rests with them, thus he is said to have “hung out” with them in the traditional sense.
“ And Jesus responded, “Those who are well do not require the services of a physician, but those who are sick do.” Rather than calling the virtuous to repentance, I’ve come to summon sinners to it.” In addition to the distinctions Jesus makes between “those who are well” and “those who are sick,” as well as between “righteous” and “sinners,” there is another important element in this passage that, in my opinion, might go unnoticed upon casual reading.
That element is the distinction Jesus makes between those who are well and those whom He considers to be sick.
They are the ones who are in desperate need of my assistance.” We all know that there is no one righteous save God, so why doesn’t Jesus tell them straight out, “You believe you people aren’t sinners like these people?” My kindness and mercy are needed by all of you!” In another passage of scripture, Jesus adds, “And whomever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” I believe this is the explanation behind this.
(Matthew 23:12) “God opposes the haughty, but grants grace to the humble,” according to the Bible.
If you want to come to Christ, you must first acknowledge that you are a sinner, unable to save yourself from the justice that God will display on judgment day, and that, apart from the grace and mercy of God, who died for your sins in the person of His Son, you will not see eternal life, but rather the just penalty for your transgressions.
- (For the sake of keeping the essay brief, I will only mention Luke 19:1-10 if you desire to read the complete section.
- The little man responds to Jesus’ message by declaring that he will demonstrate his inward repentance of his sins of greed and extortion by giving half of his possessions to the poor and compensating anyone who he has wronged through his tax collection practices.
- We can detect the aspect of repentance in Jesus’ interaction with sinners once more in this instance.
- In Matthew 26:13, following the event with the perfume, Jesus declares that everywhere the gospel is proclaimed, the woman’s actions will be recounted in her memory, as they were in his.
- He may have used the phrase “the” gospel.
- As much as I accept that this is a stretch, we witness Jesus preaching repentance and teaching people the ways of God anytime he goes and “hangs out” with them, therefore it is safe to assume that the message was taught during this particular meeting as well.
- He didn’t get drunk or crack crude jokes, which was unusual for him.
On the opposite, in fact!
He was also attempting to teach them that they must repent of their crimes and not take sin lightly.
He stated that the laws that they have in place are not just concerned with deeds, but also with concerns of the heart.
In contrast, when Jesus informed them that if they only looked at someone with lust, they had already committed adultery in their hearts, He demonstrated how watered down their understanding of adultery had become!
Now, it’s possible that He had a nice time with the individuals with whom He spent his time; that’s a wonderful thing!
Recommendations for Resources: The Problem With “Progressive” Christianity – YouTube video by Mike Winger Alisa Childers is a woman that works in the fashion industry.
What is the significance of Jesus eating with sinners?
QuestionAnswer A short time after summoning Matthew to accompany Him, Jesus dined in Matthew’s home, where He was joined by “a large number of tax collectors and sinners” (Mark 2:15). Matthew had previously worked as a tax collector, and the “sinners” in question were his colleagues and acquaintances who had come to spend time with Jesus in this new capacity. Matthew wished to present Jesus to those in his social circle who were unfamiliar with him. The scribes and Pharisees, who loathed tax collectors, expressed their displeasure, yet Jesus’ actions in spending time with sinners were perfectly consistent with His mission to seek and redeem the lost (Luke 19:10).
- The Pharisees were held in high regard by almost everyone.
- In their elevated status, they avoided individuals whom they saw as “sinners,” or those who did not adhere to their set of rules and regulations.
- Jesus decided to eat with sinners because they needed to know that they could find forgiveness and repentance if they came to him.
- As soon as Matthew became a member of Jesus’ inner circle, it was inevitable that Jesus would have more interaction with the outcasts of society.
- If Jesus is to reach out to the lost, He must first establish some sort of touch with them.
- The presence of Jesus, who was present at Matthew’s feast, shattered cultural taboos and denounced the Pharisees’ strict way of gaining holiness.
- Instead of dismissing individuals because of their previous actions, Jesus saw the spiritual need of those around him.
Even His followers were taken aback when He struck into a conversation with a despised Samaritan woman at a well (John 4:27).
Jesus reached out to the unreachable and loved the unlovely on a number of occasions.
When a soul’s eternal fate is on the line, tradition, cultural prohibitions, and the frowns of a few are meaningless considerations.
Jesus recognized people for who they were, not simply for their titles.
As part of his mission to spread the gospel, Jesus ate with sinners and spent time with them.
They recognized Jesus as a good man and a man of God — the miracles He performed bore proof to this — and they were moved by His compassion and sincerity toward them.
As the Good Shepherd, He went out in search of the lost sheep, no matter where they had wandered.
Having the chance to share the good news of the kingdom with people who most needed to hear it was a fantastic experience (see Matthew 4:23).
In contrast to the Pharisees, Jesus did not demand that people change before coming to Him.
The change that would occur to individuals who accepted Christ would be gradual and come from inside them.
It was Jesus who demonstrated to us that we should not allow cultural standards define who we should evangelize.
Sheep that have gone astray require a shepherd.
Are we willing to take the risk ourselves? Questions regarding Jesus Christ (return to top of page) What is the meaning of Jesus’ dining with sinners in the Gospel of Matthew?
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Who Did Jesus Hang Out With?
The woman realized that her life was going to come to an end. Her critics, who were gathered in a large crowd, were all holding stones. This would be her legacy, and she would be eternally known as a lady who committed adultery. She couldn’t do anything except gaze at the dust that surrounded her feet, which she was filled with humiliation and a sense of helplessness. She wasn’t, however, alone herself. There was a man sitting next to her, and he was unlike any other man she had ever met before.
- She was expecting him to agree and throw the first stone, so she hid her face.
- Last but not least, Jesus took his place and said, “Let the one who has never sinned cast the first stone” (John 8:7b).
- On that specific day, he decided to alter the game.
- It was because Jesus was providing a blueprint for how to develop his Church, one lost sheep at a time, that he chose to hang out with misfits.
- He specifically sought out the disabled and sickly, as well as those who were thought undesirable, disreputable, and morally incorrect in their lifestyle choices by the rest of society.
- His inner circle consisted of an assortment of sinners that he gathered together in a haphazard manner.
- Society views persons in terms of stereotypes.
Even when Jesus was teaching to large groups of people, he always took time to reach out to the outcast on a more personal level.
The story of the “lady at the well” exemplifies the desperate need for a Redeemer.
While walking through Samaria, Jesus and his companions — all of whom were Jewish — made it a point to stop and rest.
He struck up a discussion with a woman who he later discovered to be a sinner and an outcast.
Jesus announced Himself to be the Messiah at the conclusion of their conversation, and Mary enthusiastically embraced this revelation.
When Jesus encountered Matthew, a tax collector, he used the same redeeming vision that he used when he first met him (Matthew 9:9-10).
This generalization, on the other hand, did not prevent Jesus from reaching out to Matthew and eating supper with him and other unsavory members of society.
Several religious authorities were offended by Jesus’ choice of companions, and they ridiculed Him as a result of His choice of companions.
As a result, I have come not to call those who believe themselves to be virtuous, but rather those who recognize themselves to be sinners” (Matt.
Throughout recorded history, people have been afraid of groups of people who are different from themselves.
Through his personal example and by emphasizing the most fundamental commandment in the Bible: “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and mind,” he was able to accomplish his goal.
Second, and maybe more essential, is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” These two commandments serve as the foundation for the whole law and all of the prophetic demands (Matthew 22:37-40, NLT).
However, they only had a limited understanding of what it meant to live according to that commandment.
With his trademark storytelling ability, Jesus presented the tale of the “Good Samaritan” to hammer home a point (Luke 10:30-37).
Two men, a priest and a temple aide, passed the man as he went down the street.
A third man, a Samaritan, who, as we have seen, was also an outcast, stumbled upon the battered man and instantly gave aid by caring for his wounds and paying for him to stay in an inn so that he may have time to recuperate and recover.
When we are in an unpleasant circumstance or with someone, it is in our tendency to avoid them.
Jesus exemplifies how we should always be kind and merciful to others, no matter what.
Not only people who believe, dress, and act in the same way as we do.
Which raises the question of whether or not we are following Jesus in accordance with the example he set and the teachings he taught.
It wasn’t while he walked the face of the world, either.
It will need us placing our faith in him, regardless of our concerns.
Just keep in mind that you are not alone.
By taking a risk and following your heart, you will be fulfilling God’s will, just as Jesus did. Do you require daily encouragement? For no additional charge, you can have our devotions delivered to your email every day. Sign up as soon as possible!
Jesus, Friend of Sinners: But How?
Almost everyone who knows anything about the gospels — and even those who don’t — understands that Jesus was a sinner’s best friend and advocate. He frequently incurred the wrath of the scribes and Pharisees for associating with sinners, and this drew their ire (Luke 15:2). A common criticism leveled against Jesus was that he was “a glutton and a drinker, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” Jesus was acutely aware that this was one of the insults leveled against him. (See Luke 7:34.) As Christians, we take great pleasure in singing about this Pharisaical snub because it implies that Jesus is a friend to sinners such as ourselves.
Despite how essential this fact is—that Jesus is a friend of sinners—it, like every other great truth in the Bible, must be protected against theological and ethical error in order to be preserved.
As a result, “Jesus ate with sinners” becomes “Jesus had a nice party,” which becomes “Jesus was more concerned in expressing love than choosing sides,” which becomes “Jesus always sided with religious outsiders,” which becomes “Jesus would blow bubbles for transgressions of the Torah,” and so forth.
One time, when I was a younger guy serving in the ministry, I made a casual remark about how Jesus “hung around with drunks.” Fortunately, I received gentle and intelligent correction from an older Christian who had successfully conquered his own alcoholism.
For the sake of highlighting the grace of Christ, I went beyond (around, above, and away from) the biblical text and made it sound like Jesus would do everything to hang out with John Belushi in the movie Animal House.
If we exclude the account of the woman caught in adultery (because of textual criticism), there are five primary passages in the gospels where Jesus is rebuked for getting too near to sinners, according to my counting.
- In Matthew 9:9-13, Mark 2:13-17, and Luke 5:27-32, Jesus calls Matthew the tax collector to be one of his disciples, and here is the tale of how he did it. There are many tax collectors and sinners at Jesus’ meal, “since there were many who followed him,” we are told in the Gospel of Matthew (Mark 2:15). When the scribes and Pharisees complain about Jesus’ company, he responds by saying that he has “not come to summon the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). Matthew 11:16-19
- Luke 7:31-35 – Matthew 11:16-19
- Luke 7:31-35 Throughout this passage, Jesus chastises the “people of this generation” for rejecting John the Baptist because he was too strict and rejecting the Son of Man because he was too lax. It is because of this episode that the expression “friend of sinners” came to be. It’s important to realize that it was an insult directed at Jesus by his adversaries. This does not rule out the possibility that Christ owned it and that we should refrain from singing it, but it does imply that he may not have owned it in every aspect. If Jesus was not a “glutton and a drunkard,” as his opponents believe, it is possible that he was not “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” in the manner in which they believed
- The Gospel of Luke 7:36-50 – Luke’s story follows closely on the heels of this one, and they are both similar. Unclean woman anoints Jesus with costly ointment and cleanses Jesus’ feet with her tears and the hair off her head, all in the name of Christ. When Jesus is reprimanded for allowing this “sinner” to get close to him, he tells Simon that people who have been forgiven much love much more than those who have been forgiven little. In the end, Jesus forgives the woman for her transgression and tells her, “Your faith has saved you
- Depart in peace” (Luke 7:50). Luke 15:1-2 – Jesus tells the lady, “Your faith has saved you
- Go in peace.” Those first two lines of Luke 15 provide the scene for the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son that are found later in the book of Luke. Tax collectors and sinners “were all drawing near” to Jesus, the Pharisees and scribes complained that Jesus was inviting them to dine with them since they were “all approaching near.” Afterwards, three parables explain how God searches for the lost (15:3, 8, 20) and how happy God is when sinners repent (15:7, 10, 21-24)
- Luke 19:1-10 – The gospel according to Luke. A second time, the Jewish officials complain that Jesus “has gone into a house where a sinner is staying to be his guest” (Luke 19:7) Despite the fact that Zacchaeus repents and has changed (19:8), the Jews are unable to understand that the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost (19:10) and that this infamous tax collector has been saved (19:9)
- Despite the fact that Zacchaeus repents and has changed (19:8)
So, what can we take away from these occurrences as a lesson? In what ways did Jesus show himself to be a friend of sinners? Did he have a big plan for how he was going to get through to the tax collectors? Is it true that he “hung around” with drunks and prostitutes without discrimination? Was he the type of Messiah who was content to simply live and let live? Taking these verses together, we discover that sinners were drawn to Jesus, that Jesus delighted in spending time with sinners who were receptive to his teaching, that Jesus forgave repentant sinners, and that Jesus welcomed sinners who placed their confidence in him.
In the sense that he came to redeem sinners, Jesus was a friend of sinners, and he was delighted to welcome sinners who were receptive to the gospel, repentant of their crimes, and on their way to placing their confidence in Him.
He is married and has two children (Charlotte).
Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have nine children: Ian, Jacob, Elizabeth, Paul, Mary, Benjamin, Tabitha, Andrew, and Susannah. Kevin and Trisha have nine children: Ian, Jacob, Elizabeth, Paul, Mary, Benjamin, Tabitha, Andrew, and Susannah.
Was Jesus Friends With Sinners? These scriptures say NO.
Those statements “Jesus hung out with sinners” and “Jesus ate with sinners” or “Jesus was inclusive” and “Jesus didn’t judge” have become so tiresome to hear. Because none of that is supported by a shred of empirical evidence. Despite what you’ve been told, and despite what you’ve read, Jesus was not a friend of the sinner in the Bible. According to the definition, a friend is someone who is on good terms with another, who is a member of the same nation or political party as another, who is a supporter of another, or who is affiliated with another by reason of contact.
- The sinner does not have a good relationship with God.
- God expresses His dissatisfaction with the sinner in no uncertain terms.
- If the sinner goes to Hell, but Christ is in Heaven, then you and the sinner are not members of the same nation, according to the Bible.
- If sin divides you from God, then you and God are not members of the same political group.
- If God doesn’t hear you, then there is no communication between you and him or her.
- If your sin leads God to be unaware of your existence, then He will not support you.
- However, according to Matthew 9:11, He went inside Matthew’s home and sat down, and the Gentiles and tax collectors followed and joined Him.
- He spoke to Himself as a physician, a doctor who had been dispatched to nurse people back to health and to a complete life free of the shackles of sin.
- He publicly encouraged the sinner to participate in His life so that they may experience the transformation that He could bring about in them, not because He loved being in their presence.
- “Likewise, anyone it may be among you who will not lay down all that he possesses, he cannot be my disciple,” Jesus says in Luke 14:33.
He wasn’t merely an addition to their routine; the command to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11) implied that something needed to change. They wished to live a different life, and they were certain that He was the answer, even if it meant sufferingHis reproof in return for everlasting life.
So Christ didn’t eat with the sinners, they ate with Him.
Yet, even in their presence, He never shied away from rebuking them for their wickedness, indicating that He was not an all-encompassing God. He invited individuals from all walks of life to become His disciples (pupils), but he cautioned them that they must repent of their sins in order to be engaged with this journey. He dealt with them in a just and fair manner. His actions included reversing the tables in the tabernacle, reminding men of their sin at the adulterer’s stoning, telling the woman at the well what she had done, commanding the rich man to sell all that he possessed, Herebuking Peter, scolding the disciples, condemning the religious, and declaring that sinners would not be allowed into Heaven.
- Take your troubles to the Lord and place them at His feet; then take up your cross and follow Him.
- He is the Great Shepherd, and we are the sheep in His pasture.
- Despite the fact that He embodies every trait of a friend, He is nevertheless the master of the universe.
- He remains the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, as he has been for centuries.
- According to James 4:4, ” Do you not understand that the friendship of the world is hostility with God?
- as well as Romans 12: Love really, despise sin, uphold justice, and, if at all possible, live in peace.
- It implies that we must imitate Christ and follow in His footsteps, among other things.
By being committed to His word, you can shine a light in a dark and dying world.
According to the Bible, He is a friend who clings closer to you than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).
“There is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” according to John 15:13.
PIN You are my pals if you obey whatever I instruct you to do.
This uniqueness of thought, of fellowship, and of commitment is the unifying component that binds you to Christ and your connection with him (Philippians 2:13).
Jesus was not friends with sinners, Jesus is not a friend to sinners- and this remains true today.
A reader recently contacted me using the “Contact Me” form on the “Regarding Me” page to ask a question about the Bible and theology. Here’s what he had to say: Hello, Jeremy. Thank you so much for making yourself available. It might be difficult to locate a spiritual advisor on the internet when you have a question about your spirituality. Recently, I’ve been dealing with some new facts I’ve discovered about Jesus and certain people’s viewpoints on the subject. To begin, I am a public school high school student who comes from an unbelieving household, therefore I spend a lot of time with people who are not religious.
- In Luke 7:34, the pharisees are attempting to discredit Jesus by referring to him as a glutton, a drunken, and a friend of sinners, among other things.
- Some individuals believe that Jesus was solely with unbelievers to minister to them and not to associate with them or become friends with them as a result of this knowledge.
- Is our understanding of Jesus’ public ministry sufficient to provide us with all the information we want regarding his interactions and connections with unbelievers?
- I’m publishing my response here because I believe that others may have questions that are similar to mine.
- It is also true that Jesus never addressed Himself as such in any of his teachings.
All of this, however, does not rule out the possibility that Jesus was a friend to sinners. On the contrary, there are multiple lines of evidence that show that Jesus did, in fact, associate with and befriend persons who were labeled “sinners” by the ecclesiastical establishment at the time.
1. Nobody Ever Tried to Discredit a Pharisee by Calling them “the friend of sinners”
As a result of Jesus’ frequent consumption of food and drink, as well as his association with “sinners,” the Pharisees were able to nail him to the cross and charge him with gluttony, drunkenness, and sinner-friendliness. If the accusation had not been at least partially true, it would never have been made, and it would not have remained in the public domain. The Pharisees are a perfect illustration of this. Nowhere in the Bible or in any other periodical literature will you find an accusation against the Pharisees that they are the friends of sinners.
Due to the fact that they did everything they could to maintain a separate existence from sinners.
This is a classic attack known as “guilt by association,” and it has been used for centuries.
2. Jesus never denied that he was the friend of sinners
As a result of Jesus’ frequent use of food and drink, as well as his association with “sinners,” the Pharisees were able to nail him on the cross and charge him with gluttony, drunkenness, and sinner-friendship. If the claim had not been at least somewhat genuine, it would never have been made, and it would not have remained unchallenged for this long. Among those who provide a good example are the Pharisees. This accusation of the Pharisees being “friends of sinners” does not appear either in Scripture or any other literature from that time period.
Due to the fact that they made every effort to maintain a distinct existence from sinners.
Known as “guilt by association,” this is a traditional kind of assault.
3. If Jesus Wasn’t the Friend of Sinners, He Couldn’t be Friends with Any of Us!
I believe that one truth that is frequently forgotten in this debate is the fact that we are all sinners. Because some individuals believe that they are not sinners, they prefer to claim that Jesus was not a true friend to sinners. If they are not “as evil” as those other offenders, they are certainly not “as awful.” Do you have any idea what this is? This is referred to as “pride,” and it is the most serious of all potential sins. The only individuals who would argue that Jesus was not truly a friend to sinners are those who do not believe that they are sinners in the first place.
We are all sinners in desperate need of forgiveness. We are all unwell and in desperate need of a doctor. It is possible that Jesus would have remained in paradise if He had only intended to associate with the virtuous.
4. Jesus Didn’t Come to Save us From Our Sin, but to Save us From Religion
It is not a question of choosing between virtuous and unrighteous individuals (because all of us are unrighteous), but rather one of choosing between religious and non-religious people when it comes to debating who Jesus hung around with. I believe that Jesus came to free people from religion, perhaps even more than he came to free us from our sin. For example, one of the ways Jesus demonstrated this was by spending time with those whom religion considers to be “unworthy” of God’s attention or forgiveness.
He did so to demonstrate that God loves sinners more than God loves religious people.
The Gospel message contains one of the most important facts in the world.
It is possible that religion will really come in the way of you seeing how much God loves and forgives you!
5. Yes, Jesus Hung Out with Religious People Too
Yes, absolutely. I’m not going to deny it. Some of His own disciples were “religious,” according to the Bible. And we must never forget that Nicodemus paid Jesus a visit (John 3) or that Jesus had a meal with Simon the Pharisee (Matthew 26). (Luke 7:36-49). He also refers to His supporters as “friends” (John 15:14). However, once again, the point is not whether or whether Jesus socialized with religious individuals. He, of course, did it. This raises the question, “Why?” Not because He agreed with their ideas and actions, but rather because He did not.
- Just as Jesus’ association with sinners and tax collectors should not be seen as a support of their views and conduct, the fact that Jesus associated with religious people should not be interpreted as an endorsement of their ideas and behavior.
- Even this, though, is veering off course.
- It is not about who has received more approval, acceptance, or endorsement than someone else.
- It has nothing to do with your religious beliefs!
- Moreover, guess what?
So Should you Make Friends with Sinners?
I’m sorry, but I have some bad news for you. If you have friends, it is likely that you are already acquainted with sinners. The fact that some of them are religious sinners suggests that they are likely to suffer from various forms of spiritual blindness to their own sin as well as to the way they treat others in the name of God. Alternatively, some sinners may be non-religious sinners who are merely want to “enjoy life” in general. Which social group should you try to associate with? Making a decision is straightforward.
Take a look about you.
The individuals in your life are most likely the ones with whom God wants you to spend your time on this earth. So live with them in the same way that Jesus came and lived among us. Love them in the same way that He has loved you. Allow them to be forgiven just as He has forgiven you.
Final Note About Jesus the Friend of Sinners
After I finished writing the essay above, I went on a search to check whether anybody else had written something similar on the subject. “Jesus, Friend of Sinners: But How?” is an essay by Kevin DeYoung that I strongly disagree with, and which I believe the lady who sent me the question above was referring to when she asked me the question above. In addition, I came upon an essay by Jonathan Merritt titled “Setting the Record Straight on Jesus, ‘the buddy of sinners,’ ” which is a rebuttal to Kevin DeYoung’s article and is really wonderful.
He ends with the following statement: We have a Jesus who loves us even when we do not love him back.
Is there a Christ who welcomes people without discrimination or qualification, with no conditions or strings attached?
Jesus at the Table: Why Jesus Ate with Sinners and What It Means for Us
A large number of tax collectors and sinners came to Jesus and His disciples’ home to dine with them while He was reclining at the table. When the Pharisees noticed this, they confronted His disciples, asking, “Why does your Teacher dine with tax collectors and sinners?” (Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?) (Matthew 9:10-11; Luke 9:10) We’ve been studying the call of Matthew, the Jewish tax collector who abandoned his financial stability and his duties in order to follow Jesus for the last several weeks.
As we will see in the following two verses, however, Matthew did not immediately and fully cut himself off from his previous life.
Matthew’s Friends, The “Sinners”
In Matthew 9:10, “the home” where Jesus sat down to dinner is clearly recognized as Matthew’s house (we know this both from the context and from the gospel of Luke, where the house is explicitly designated as Matthew’s house). As a result, the individuals who have gathered there are Matthew’s guests: his friends, his coworkers, and other members of his social circle. The fact that Matthew worked as a tax collector, as we saw in a previous post, caused him to feel like an outsider in his own community.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Matthew’s companions are predominantly “tax collectors and sinners.” Sinners is a term used in the gospels to indicate a specific group of individuals, rather than “sinful mankind” in general, but we don’t know who they were or how they came to be called “sinners.” This group of Jews was most likely comprised of non-law-observant Jews; that is, Jews who did not tithe, sacrifice, or practice the ceremonies of purity that were intended to distinguish God’s people.
It’s possible that Matthew’s acquaintances were prostitutes or professional mistresses, but it’s unlikely that they were destitute like Matthew.
However, Matthew’s acquaintances were not the type of individuals whom religious leaders would often associate with or invite into their communities.
However, Matthew, who having just experienced the call and acceptance of Jesus in his own life, quickly turned around and extended it to those who were in the same boat as he had been in before.
Rather of abandoning his friends, he extends an invitation to them to accompany him on this new voyage. He invites them to a dinner party and introduces them to the Lord Jesus Christ. And, to our amazement, some of them do show up.
The Scandal of Fellowship
Of course, Jesus agrees to accept the offer as well. He’s prepared to have a meal with these individuals, which is a scandal. Even in our society, dining with someone entails sharing more than just food; it is sharing something deeper as well. When you provide a meal, you demonstrate generosity, and when you receive one, you demonstrate humility. When you eat together, you demonstrate fellowship — or connection with one another. A meal brings even strangers together to become something more: we become friends, coworkers, and family for the length of the meal.
Grace, acceptance, and open arms were extended to them prior to their having shown any desire to repent or make any changes in their life.
That, of course, was at the heart of his entire goal, but it was something that not many people realized at the time.
God at the Table
Much people understand this narrative to suggest that Jesus spent most of his time hanging out with the folks at the local bar, guzzling beer and making jokes, or that he concentrated his efforts on reaching the poor and downtrodden. That is a wildly inaccurate representation of the situation. The heart of God, on the other hand, may be found in Matthew’s heart: to share the meal with people who are far away from him, and even more importantly, to share himself. To thoroughly immerse himself in our existence, and to be present with us on the ground, in order to give us heaven.
As well, he provided them with the heavenly meal of himself: his time, his energy, his kingdom message, and most importantly, his love.
For an afternoon, he allowed himself to be regarded as one of them, participating in their activities and experiencing their company.
It was entirely up to them whether or not they would identify with him, as Matthew was openly doing.
Where Are You in the Story?
Identifying with a certain character or characters in the tales of the gospel is one old approach of Scripture reading that asks us to place ourselves in the stories of the gospel so that we might be more affected by them. It has shown to be a productive practice in this area. A “sinner” is someone who has fallen away from God and finds it difficult to imagine that the Lord might accept or dine with them. Will you perceive his humility and readiness to associate with you where you are, before you’ve gotten clean, before you’ve shown yourself worthy in your own eyes to receive his love?
Identify as a Matthew if you are prepared to spread the call of God to your colleagues and coworkers as well as your family and social networks.
Consider yourself to be in the position of Jesus – filled with the Holy Spirit, a preacher of the gospel of reconciliation, able to impart love, fellowship, and the call of God to others around you.
He enters our mediocre lives in order to call us to greater ones. He consumes our bread in order to provide his flesh and blood — himself, broken and offered for us — in order that we may be saved and nourished, cleaned and restored to wholeness.
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There are 118 parts in this series on the Gospel of Matthew, which you may view by clicking here. Quotes from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the original source. This blog, Revelatory Creative, is a labor of passion on the part of the author. In order for the church—that is, you and me—to find our position within this often neglected but important Bible teaching, I intend to devote time to researching and writing about the kingdom of God, among other things.
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Who did Jesus hang out with when He was on earth? Who were Jesus’ friends?
There are 118 parts in this series on the Gospel of Matthew, which you may view by clicking on the link above. Quotes from the Holman Christian Standard Bible are used unless otherwise noted. My passion for writing has resulted in my blog, Revelatory Creative. In order for the church—that is, you and me—to discover our position within this often forgotten yet important Bible teaching, it is my objective to spend time researching and writing about the kingdom of God. Nevertheless, I am unable to do it without your assistance.
You will receive free access to the audio version of my 7-week “Your Kingdom Calling” course, as well as digital books and video series relating to this site in exchange for your contribution.
And thank you so much.
Because of you, this effort is possible.
Jesus Hung Out With Sinners
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it six hundred and sixty-six times: “Don’t you know Jesus hung out with sinners?” “Don’t you know Jesus hung out with sinners?” Yes, as a matter of fact, I was well aware of this. On the other hand, those of us who oppose things like same-sex marriage (as well as any number of other once sinful but now lauded societal phenomena) are frequently reprimanded for our alleged ignorance of the Savior’s party attendees. As a result of our refusal to embrace a certain way of life, we are frequently referred to as biblical illiterates, which is understandable given that individuals who use the Bible like toilet paper have a better understanding of the text.
- I hope you understand.
- If you truly cared about me, you’d embrace me for who I am rather than judging me.
- It’s only because of your hatred, bigotry, and racism that you’re being labeled as such by someone.
- If you truly loved me as much as you claim to, you’d be more like Jesus and stop hating on me.
- I’m sorry, but I can’t support your lifestyle choices.
- If you studied the Bible the way you claim to, you would have come across passages in which Jesus liked sinners and hung out with them.
- You need to stop criticizing and go back to your bronze-age book of myths to see if you can genuinely learn something from it this time around.
- You’ve gotten me.
because, you know, He was simply concerned with loving people and had no desire for them to change. Right?
The “Hanging Out” Passages
The following phrase has been repeated to me at least six hundred and sixty-six times: “Don’t you know Jesus hung out with sinners?” “Don’t you know Jesus hung out with sinners?” Yes, as a matter of fact, I was aware of this. On the other hand, those of us who oppose things like same-sex marriage (as well as any number of other historically sinful but now lauded societal phenomena) are frequently reprimanded for our claimed ignorance of the Savior’s party attendees. Because individuals who use the Bible as if it were toilet paper have a better understanding of the text, practically without exception, when we decline to endorse a certain lifestyle choice, we are considered as illiterates in biblical terms.
- I’m sorry.
- You’re nothing more than a _phobic piece of$!
- The only thing I’m saying is.I’m not passing judgment on you.
- Someone else: and you and your ilk should all be apprehended and executed!
- You should know that I do not despise you.
- You’re nothing but a m -f_, self-righteous hypocrite, as seen by your actions.
- No, he did not go about hating people and attempting to persuade them to alter their ways.
- I suppose I should dust off the dusty cover of that old Book and re-read those long-forgotten and neglected sections that reveal Jesus would have approved and promoted every alternative lifestyle if he had lived it.
So, as you can see, Jesus did care about and spend time with sinners, just like the majority of us do. However, just as Jesus did not instantly affirm and support every cause that paraded nude down Main Street, we cannot automatically affirm and support every cause that marches naked down Main Street. We, like Jesus, do not want people to continue to be “sick,” but rather that they be “healed.” “This is a trustworthy statement, deserving of universal acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to redeem sinners, among whom I am the foremost.” Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15 that Because I have personally experienced the life-changing “balm of Gilead” being administered to my own sin-sick soul, it is impossible for me not to want to refer others to the Great Physician who has done the same for me.
If you abandon them and never inform them that there is a solution for the illness they may not even be aware they have, you may consider it a type of affirmation, but it is most definitely not love.
No, Jesus didn’t ‘hang out’ with sinners
In other words, Jesus did care for and hung out with sinners, just like the majority of us do today. As with Jesus, we cannot instantly endorse and support every cause that marches down Main Street in the name of love, just because we care about them and want to help them. It’s similar to Jesus in that we don’t want people to be “ill,” but rather that they be “healed.” ‘It is a true statement, and it is worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to redeem sinners, among which I am the foremost.’ Paul writes in 1 Timothy 1:15 that Because I have personally experienced the life-changing “balm of Gilead” being given to my own sin-sick soul, it is impossible for me not to want to refer others to the Great Physician who has done so much for me.
Leave people to die in their sins, never informing them that there is a solution for a condition they may not even be aware they have, may be a type of affirmation, but it is certainly not a manifestation of love.