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
According to Matthew 9:10, “the house” where Jesus sat down to eat is the home of Matthew’s brother (we know this both from the context and from the gospel of Luke, where Matthew’s house is explicitly mentioned). As a result, the individuals who have gathered there are Matthew’s guests: his friends, his coworkers, and other members of his social network. The fact that Matthew worked as a tax collector, as we saw in a previous post, made him feel like he was an alien in his own culture. He had voluntarily decided to benefit from Rome’s tyranny of his people, and it was understandable that the only individuals who approved of such a choice were other people who were also making comparable choices in the same situation.
- It is clear that the term “sinners” is used throughout the gospels to refer to a specific group of people, rather than “sinful mankind” in general, but we do not know who these individuals were.
- Even if Matthew’s acquaintances had been prostitutes or professional mistresses, it’s improbable that they had been impoverished.
- However, Matthew’s friends were not the type of individuals whom religious professors would often associate with or allow into their homes.
- However, Matthew, who having just experienced the call and acceptance of Jesus in his own life, instantly turned around and extended it to those who were in the same boat as he had been in.
- He invites them to a dinner party and introduces them to the Savior, Jesus Christ.
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.
This was an identity he would take with him all the way to the cross, where he would ultimately die in their place for their crimes. 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.
I would love to hear from you. Scroll down to leave a comment below!
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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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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QuestionAnswer Jesus ate a dinner at Matthew’s home with “a large number of tax collectors and sinners” shortly after asking Matthew to follow Him (Mark 2:15). They were Matthew’s pals and acquaintances who had previously worked as a tax collector and were now spending time with Jesus. To introduce others in his social circle to Christ, Matthew had a goal in mind. However, while the scribes and Pharisees, who loathed tax collectors, expressed displeasure, Jesus’ activities in spending time with sinners were entirely consistent with His mission to seek and redeem the lost (Luke 19:10).
- The Pharisees were revered by almost everyone.
- They used their elevated status to shun individuals whom they saw as “sinners,” or those who did not adhere to their set of rules and regulations.
- Sinners needed to know that forgiveness and repentance were accessible, which is why Jesus decided to dine with them.
- Jesus inevitably had more interaction with the outcasts of society once Matthew became a member of His inner group.
- To reach the unreached, Jesus must make some sort of touch with those who are far away from Him.
- The presence of Jesus, who was present at Matthew’s feast, violated cultural taboos and denounced the Pharisees’ rigid approach to reaching holiness.
- Instead of dismissing individuals because of their previous actions, Jesus recognized the spiritual need of those who came to him for help.
Even His followers were taken aback by His conversation with a lowly Samaritan woman at a well (John 4:27).
Jesus reached out to the unreachable and loved the unlovely on a number of different occasions.
When it comes to a soul’s everlasting fate, tradition, cultural prohibitions, and the frowns of a few do not count.
» (John 3:17).
He was compassionate, and he attempted to address the needs of those in his immediate surroundings.
Sinners were no doubt moved to greater devotion as a result of witnessing all of this.
They also recognized His compassion and genuineness.
The Good Shepherd went after the stray sheep wherever they had gone astray in the name of righteousness.
Having the chance to share the good news of the kingdom with folks who really needed to hear it was a fantastic experience (see Matthew 4:23).
The Pharisees demanded that people change before coming to Jesus, but Jesus did not expect this of them.
Sinners are drawn to repentance by God’s compassion (Romans 2:4), and Jesus was a person who radiated kindness.
Sick people require the services of a doctor.
In Luke 10:2, are we asking the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the harvest field? What if we don’t want to travel together? to:Jesus Christ: Do You Have Any Questions? What is the relevance of Jesus’ dining with sinners in the Gospel of Matthew and Mark?
What Is the Significance of Jesus Eating with Sinners?
In order to comprehend the importance of Jesus dining with sinners, we must first consider those who lodged the complaint — the Pharisees and teachers of the law — and their arguments. During that historical period, these men were the religious leaders of the community, and they had developed their own set of laws, which they called the “tradition of the elders.” Eating in the presence of a sinner, they believed, contaminated them. This was only one of the laws that Jesus broke while on the run.
So, what exactly is the meaning of Jesus sharing a meal with unbelievers?
How the Story Unfolds
In the beginning of the story, Jesus is having dinner with a Pharisee. A renowned Pharisee’s home was where Jesus went to eat one Saturday night, and the disciples were keeping a close eye on him (Luke 14). During this lunch, Jesus breaks one of their customs by curing a man on the Sabbath, which was against the law. The Pharisees are enraged, and Jesus takes advantage of the situation to instruct them. Unfortunately, the Pharisees are deaf and hard of hearing. Soon after, they begin to mumble something critical.
Despite this, the Pharisees and teachers of the law murmured, “This man invites sinners and has his meal with them” (Luke 15:1-2).
When they were finished, Jesus told them a parable: “Suppose one of you owns a hundred sheep and one of them is lost.
“There was once a guy who had two sons.,” Jesus said.
Jesus Speaks His Mission
Immediately following Jesus’ invitation to Matthew (also known as Levi) to join him, the two of them gathered for a supper, to which Matthew brought his colleagues and companions. In addition, a large number of them were followers of Jesus. A big gathering of tax collectors and others joined them for a lavish meal at Levi’s home, which was attended by a large number of people, including Jesus. However, the Pharisees and teachers of the law who belonged to their sect objected to his followers’ association with tax collectors and sinners, saying, “Why do you associate with sinners and tax collectors?” (See Luke 5:29-30.) Jesus answers to the criticism by reminding the listener of his central goal.
Matthew recounts a more specific response to the religious authorities, which he directs at them.
“However, study what this phrase means: ‘I seek kindness rather than sacrifice.'” “I have not come to summon the virtuous, but sinners,” says the prophet. (See Matthew 9:13.) Jesus ate with sinners because they were the ones he was sent to rescue, and so he included them in his meal.
Sinners According to Who
The Pharisees asserted that they followed both the law of Moses and the tradition of the elders in their religious practices. Through the creation of their own set of laws, they were able to establish themselves as virtuous, while those who did not follow them were dubbed sinners. Although the religious leaders seemed to be righteous, Jesus revealed their deception and warned them of their actual plight. .do not follow in their footsteps. Because they do not put into practice what they preach.
- Everything they do is purely for display.
- Hypocrites, scribes and priests, you have no place in this world.
- Jesus’ statements make very obvious the reality that may be found throughout the Bible: that everyone has sinned.
- Spiritual illness manifests itself in the heart.
Jesus Demonstrates His Mission
Jesus’ mercy is demonstrated over and over again to those who do not deserve it, but whose hearts are compelled to seek medical attention anyway. 1. A man suffering from leprosy comes to Jesus, desiring to be healed but unsure as to whether Jesus is willing to heal him. It was once believed that touching a leper rendered a person unclean. Jesus was not only willing to heal him, but he also did the illegal thing of touching him while saying the words, “I am willing,” to demonstrate his willingness.
- In response to the religious leaders’ demands for a response from Jesus, mercy and truth emerged — the one without sin being the one who throws the first rock.
- Because he was short, he had to climb a tree.
- He called out to Zacchaeus, inviting him to come and have dinner with him.
- I’m here!” Here and now, I am donating half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will reimburse them four times the amount of the deception.” God’s mission is to bring about salvation.
- The Samaritan woman who came to the water source.
- She was a woman who had had multiple husbands, who was living with a man but was not married, and she was a good Samaritan who helped people in need (a people the Israelites despised).
Even Jesus’ disciples were taken aback by the fact that he was ministering to her. Not only was Jesus able to reach her, but he was also able to reach the entire region. God’s mission is for the benefit of all people.
The Significance of Whosoever
There’s a reason why John 3:16 is the most often quoted scripture in the Bible: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life Whoever is willing to confess that they are spiritually unwell. Whosoever will run to the great physician and say, “Jesus, only you can heal my soul.” Whosoever will receive the perfect righteousness available only through Jesus — the love of God who eats with sinners.God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
She has authored several books, includingEmerging With Wings, A Bird Named Payn, Love’s Manifesto, and Because You Matter, and she hosts the Victorious Souls Podcast.
Jesus Ate With Tax Collectors, Prostitutes, and Other Sinners, and We Can Too
In the Gospels, Jesus is frequently shown as interacting with sinners. Tax collectors and prostitutes, for example, are examples of people who are frequently shunned by the Church in the New Testament. Isn’t it a little shocking that this has happened? Absolutely! However, if we look into these narratives in the Gospel of Luke, we will discover why He did what He did. In the beginning of Jesus’ career, He summons a tax collector named Levi (Luke 5:27-28). Not only does the man stand up and follow Him, but he also goes out of his way to arrange a lavish feast at his home.
- The scribes and Pharisees were outraged at this point.
- 30.) When Jesus speaks to them, we are given two wonderful things to think about that are crucial for us to take into account.
- 32 Rather than calling on the virtuous, I have come to call on sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32 (KJV) Because Jesus was not interested in bodily nutrition, he did not dine with tax collectors and sinners.
- In verse 32, Jesus declares that He has come to summon sinners to repentance and forgiveness.
- It’s possible that these sinners had heard about the paralyzed who had been healed earlier (Luke 5:17-26).
- The common people would have looked to Jesus as a physician if they had heard about the guy who was healed by him.
- Many of these offenders were physically ill, yet Jesus taught them how to repent and turn their lives around.
- These concepts of sin and disease were diametrically opposed to those held by the Pharisees and scribes.
In the same way, they did not believe they were ill. They were in good health and did not require the services of a physician. According to them, if there was someone who was sick, it was none other than Jesus Himself (Mark 3:20-21).
The Sinner Who Washed Jesus’ Feet With Her Tears
Two chapters later, a Pharisee approaches Jesus and invites him to share a meal with him. Simon is his given name. The invitation is accepted by the Lord. We may infer from this verse that Jesus was prepared to have a meal with both common sinners and those who were more pious in their beliefs. There is a huge difference between this and the previous account. A lady who is a sinner comes to Jesus in the name of repentance. He has not forbid her from doing so. “Behold, a lady in the city who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at the Pharisee’s home, brought an alabaster jar of ointment,” Luke recounts the incident.
- What she does is completely unexpected.
- He couldn’t possibly be one.
- This implies that being touched by a sinner poses a problem for the virtuous, which is not the case.
- Perhaps the Pharisees believed that when a sinner comes into contact with a good person, the righteous person becomes dirty.
- This is something we must keep in mind.
- As I already stated, we are all guilty of sin.
- Whether we are just in the company of sinners or actively engaged in immoral conduct with them makes a difference.
It was also not His intention to be touched by her.
He never engages in a sin in order to reach out to sinners.
We may spend time with them by watching movies, doing sports, and so forth.
They would most likely be carried out just as a result of being in a relationship with someone.
God, on the other hand, never expects us to truly sin when engaging in such activities.
Sinners who sought Him out were welcomed by Jesus.
They were aware that they were ill and need the assistance of the Great Physician.
After she has washed and anointed Jesus’ feet, as well as kissed them repeatedly, the Lord addresses Simon with a question about his actions.
The first owing five hundred denarii, while the second owed fifty denarii.
As a result, who of them will be the most in love with him?
“I believe it was him whom he forgiven the most,” he explains (Luke 7:43).
Throughout the following four verses, we are reminded of the difference between the sinner and Simon.
You did not provide me with any water for my feet when I arrived.
46 Despite the fact that you did not anoint my head with oil, she did so with ointment on my feet.
“However, the same person who is forgiven little also loves little.” (See Luke 7:44-47.) She demonstrates her deep affection for Jesus in a variety of ways.
Following that, “He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven,'” according to the Bible.
48.) The people in His immediate vicinity react in the same way as they did when Jesus pardoned the sins of the paralyzed man.
Her acts served as a demonstration of her belief. As we can see from Jesus’ statements, Mary had trust that he could forgive her of her sins and that he would do so. She was absolutely accurate! She was pardoned in the same way that the paralytic had been previously.
The Value of a Sinner’s Repentance
An invitation to eat with him is extended by a Pharisee two chapters later. Mr. Simon is the person in charge of the project. The invitation has been accepted by the Lord. The fact that Jesus was happy to dine with both common sinners and those who were more pious may be deduced from this chapter. There are substantial differences between this account and the previous one. When a sinner like a lady comes to Jesus, he is pleased with her. The fact that she is doing so is not against his wishes.
- 38 Then, as she stood behind him and at his feet, sobbing, she began to wet his feet with tears, rubbing them with the hair of her head as she kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment” (Luke 7:37-38).
- Jesus’ followers are worried, and they come to the conclusion that Jesus is not a prophet.
- The guy “.would have recognized who and what type of lady she is that touches him, and that she is a sinner” after being touched by her “.
- This implies that being touched by a sinner poses a dilemma for the virtuous, which is not correct.
- Perhaps the Pharisees believed that if a sinner comes into contact with a good person, that person becomes filthy.
- This is something we must remember.
- All of us are sinners, as I’ve already stated.
Whether we are simply in the company of sinners or actively engaged in immoral conduct with them makes a difference.
Him being touched by her was not what He desired.
If he wants to help people, he will never do anything wrong.
In addition, we may watch movies with children and participate in sports with them, as well as other activities.
They would most likely be carried out just as a result of being in a relationship with another individual.
God, on the other hand, never expects us to truly sin while engaging in such activities as they are.
People who came to Jesus looking for forgiveness were welcomed.
They were well aware that they were ill and required the assistance of the Great Doctor.
A question is posed to Simon by Jesus after she had washed his feet, anointed them with oil, and kissed them several times.
The one owing five hundred denarii, while the other owed fifty denarii, respectively.
What will be the most attractive to him, then, among them?
“I believe it was to him that he extended the most forgiveness” (Luke 7:43).
This is illustrated in the next four verses, which contrast the sinner with Simon.
45 Despite the fact that you didn’t give me a kiss, she hasn’t stopped kissing my feet since I walked in the door.
Because she was so deeply loved, her misdeeds, which were numerous, have been expiated, I tell you.
There are several ways in which she expresses her deep affection for the Lord.
He then told her, “‘Your sins are forgiven,'” according to the Bible.
The people in His immediate vicinity react in the same manner as they did when Jesus pardoned the sins of the paralyzed man: positively.
50). This sinner demonstrated his love for the Lord by doing good to others. Through her acts, she proved her belief. Her trust in Jesus’ ability to forgive her sins, as we can see from his words, was unshakeable. She was absolutely right! He forgave her the same way he did the paralytic before.
- He or she has committed a sin
- He or she is unworthy and in desperate need of God’s favor
- He or she is willing to serve the King and his or her interests
- He or she may only approach the Father via His Son, Jesus Christ
- Else, he or she will perish.
The prodigal son returns to his biological father. “He awoke and went to his father,” Jesus says in his description. However, while he was still a long distance away, his father spotted him and was touched by compassion, and hurried over to him, falling on his neck and kissing him” (Luke 15:20). When the father sees his son, he does not become enraged. No scolding or chastisement are directed at the young guy. Instead, he is filled with sympathy for him. When the Lord met among tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners, He could tell that they were remorseful because they were dressed in white.
- As a result, He taught them the truth, and a large number of people followed Him.
- These sinners were created in the image of God, were of high worth, and need redemption to be saved.
- Those who have welcomed the prodigal home are ecstatic.
- The father reacts before he has a chance to beg to be one of his hired employees.
- Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet to complete the look.
- He had gone missing and had been discovered.” Then they started to have a good time.
- Those kinds of words are tremendously encouraging because they remind us of how exhilarating it is to see sinners delivered from their sins.
- We know from God’s Word that the only person who is capable of doing this is Jesus Christ.
- Reading these, we can see that God welcomes those who repent and seek to discover the truth about himself.
- Christians have the Word of Life, and it is their responsibility to share it with the rest of the world.
Pixabay user pumukel created this image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd and the Merciful Father. Gustave Dore’s painting, The Prodigal Son in the Arms of His Father, is available at creationism.org.
Eating With Sinners: Why Jesus Broke the ‘Rules’
Consider your elementary school days, when you ate lunch with your peers in the lunchroom. Perhaps you sat with a complete stranger at first, who later became your best friend. Groups that ate together on a daily basis tended to become more homogeneous. There was no one who wanted to be associated with unpopular or ‘strange’ children. The question of who sat with whom created a tense atmosphere. This notion is very comparable to a cultural feature of the Bible that modern readers are often unaware of: the practice of table fellowship.
This implies that the initial readers didn’t require any more study materials, whereas we are left playing catch-up.
We will be utilizing the NKJV Study Pack, which is a collection of Bible study resources that have been hand-picked to assist us in our studies.
Here is a quick summary of events:
- Matthew (also known as Levi), a tax collector, is seated in his tax office when Jesus walks in. Jesus instructs Matthew to get up and “Follow Me,” which he promptly does. Jesus is honored at Matthew’s home with a feast (Matt 9:9, Mark 2:14, Luke 5:27-28). Tax collectors, sinners, and disciples are among those who attend. In Matthew 9:10, Mark 2:15, and Luke 5:29, the scribes and Pharisees (who were also present) interrogate the disciples about Jesus’ association with tax collectors and sinners
- Jesus hears their interrogation and responds directly, telling them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician
- But those who are sick.” (Matt 9:11, Mark 2:16, and Luke 5:30) For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance”
- Matthew’s Gospel adds, “But go and study what this means, “I seek mercy rather than sacrifice”
- And Mark’s Gospel adds, “But go and learn what this means, “I prefer compassion rather than sacrifice” (Matt 9:12-13
- Mark 2:17
- Luke 5:31-32
- Matthew 9:12-13)
At first look, this passage may not appear to be particularly difficult to understand. By dining with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus is able to cater to their needs. When the Pharisees criticize Him, He responds with a reprimand. Before we take a look at what the study tools have to say about this section, let’s ask some questions about it.
- Was Levi/work Matthew’s as a tax collector significant to the plot of the novel? What was the purpose of Jesus’ dinner with Levi/Matthew? What was it about eating with tax collectors and sinners that was so scandalous? What is the significance of Jesus’ references to physicians and the sick?
Matthew was a Jew, yet he worked for the Roman government, collecting taxes. Tax collectors were despised by the Jews. This group had a reputation for taking more than they required in order to supplement their own financial resources. Tax collectors sometimes used lesser officials known as publicans to carry out the real toll collection task on their behalf. In order to collect their own salaries, the publicans charged a fraction of what their boss demanded in order to charge a fraction more.
- He was a member of the Jewish community.
- He also collected taxes from fisherman who worked along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, as well as from boatmen who transported products from cities on the opposite side of the lake.
- Tax collectors had the authority to search everything, with the exception of the person of a Roman lady, for the purpose of assessment; any property that had not been properly declared was liable to forfeiture.
- It has been shown in ancient texts that when harvests were poor, a complete community would leave town when they heard the arrival of a tax collector.
- Tax collectors were occasionally bribed in order to avert the imposition of even larger fines.
What’s the deal with these sinners?
Matthew hosted a celebration in his house for some of his old business colleagues and other friends so that they may meet his new Master shortly after he decided to join Jesus. Later rabbis compared Pharisees, who they considered to be the godliest Judeans one would ordinarily meet, with tax collectors, who they considered to be the most godless Judeans one would generally meet. They were perplexed by Jesus’ actions since the Pharisees did not approve of sharing a meal with sinners. “Sinners” was a broad word used to refer to those who were not permitted to serve as judges or witnesses because of their moral unreliability on the stand.
Most likely, the sinners that Matthew invited were labeled as such not because they were notably evil individuals, but because they were not in the habit of learning and implementing ‘the tradition of the elders’, as Matthew had requested.
What’s so bad about eating with sinners?
The table was a gathering place in ancient Israel, where spiritual lessons were given and friendship was enjoyed. The term “dinner” is frequently used to refer to a banquet (a celebratory meal at which people sat in chairs), which was most likely held in honor of Jesus. Consuming food with another person constituted a covenant bond of friendship, which was typically accompanied by acceptance. In one historical tale, two warriors were forced to quit battling each other when they found that their fathers had eaten a dinner together!
In 1 Corinthians 5:9–13, Jesus stated that he preferred to pursue connections with sinners that would bring them to God rather than “quarantining” himself from such people.
“Those who are healthy do not require the services of a physician, but those who are ill do.” However, you should research whatthismeans: ‘I wish kindness rather than sacrifice.’ “I did not come to summon the virtuous, but sinners, to repentance,” Jesus said. Matthew 9:12b-13 (New King James Version)
Jesus responds that, just as a doctor seeks out the ill in order to heal them, He seeks out the sinners whom He has come to redeem, despite the artificial customs of the day. Sickness and physicians were frequently utilized as moral or intellectual metaphors by ancient authors. Although Jesus was not arguing that the Pharisees and scribes did not require spiritual healing, he was implying that they did. Instead, He was stating that only those who are aware of their spiritual need will be able to get treatment.
A patient who knows that he or she is suffering from disease and that only Jesus, the Great Physician, can provide treatment is shown in this verse as repentance.
Mercy, not sacrifice
Jewish professors were known to push their students to “go and learn,” but Jesus’ comments may have come off as more disrespectful in this context. According to Jesus, God is more concerned with a person’s faithful love than with the performance of exterior rituals. He used the verse from Hosea 6:6 to emphasize his argument. The Pharisees are sarcastically referred to as “the righteous” by Jesus in this passage. They were not virtuous; they merely viewed themselves as such as a result of their pious and rigorous observance of the laws of God (Phil.
In response, Jesus stated that God had previously determined that offerings made without mercy were useless, drawing from a well-known Old Testament prophecy.
6:6). In principle, the Pharisees loved mercy, but none would have welcomed sinners into their midst the way Jesus did. He did not condone sinners’ actions, but he did demand repentance—a change of heart that sees Jesus Christ as the sole Savior—in order to be forgiven.
Eating with sinners may be a difficult experience at times. Keeping ourselves in our own lane and tuning out the rest of the world is less difficult. When Jesus broke societal standards and looked past Matthew’s immorality in this tale, he established an example for us all to follow. Despite the fact that Matthew was one of the most despised people on the planet, Jesus was more concerned with his soul. It’s possible that you may never get the opportunity to have a meal with someone who has been marginalized by society (or by themselves), but what can you do to acknowledge others’ humanity and love them right where they are in their lives?
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Why is it significant that Jesus ate with sinners?
According to Luke 15:1–2, “The tax collectors and sinners were all getting closer to hear what was going on. “This guy receives sinners and shares his meal with them,” the Pharisees and the scribes complained, “and we are not to be pleased with him.”” Who were these “sinners,” and why would sharing a meal with them be considered so offensive? In order to comprehend the importance of Jesus’ dining with sinners, we must first comprehend the individuals who wanted to exploit Jesus’ activities as an attack on His character and ministry—the Pharisees—and how they came to this conclusion.
The Pharisees acknowledged God’s inspiration for the written Word (which is our Old Testament), but they also recognized the authority of their own oral traditions, which they referred to as the “tradition of the elders” (Mark 7:3; Galatians 1:14).
Jews who did not conform to the law of Moses, as well as the extra, difficult to understand and apply Pharisaic norms and regulations, were considered “sinners,” according to them.
Tax collectors from the Jewish community were particularly resented since they were regarded as traitors to their own people for collecting taxes on their behalf on behalf of the Roman masters.
The Pharisee believed that holiness could only be achieved via ceremonial cleanliness and seclusion from “sinners.” In Matthew 9:9–13 and Mark 2:14–16, the Pharisees saw Jesus’ invitation to the tax collector Levi (also known as Matthew) to become one of His followers as scandalous, and they exploited the incident as a chance to impugn Jesus’ integrity.
- I did not come to summon the virtuous, but sinners instead ” (Mark 2:17).
- He does not imply that only certain individuals are sinners in need of repentance and faith in Him; rather, he means that everyone is (Romans 3:23; Acts 17:30).
- This means that Jesus has come to redeem people who realize their own sins, which is exactly what He is saying.
- They put their faith in their own strict following of rites and laws, which they believed would protect them.
A clear illustration of this distinction between self-righteousness and acknowledgment of spiritual poverty can be found in Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector: “It was also to some who were self-righteous and treated others with contempt that he told this parable: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector.” The Pharisee, who was praying by himself, said the following: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men who are extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector, and I beg that you continue to protect me.
I fast twice a week and contribute 10% of all I earn to the church.” Instead of lifting his eyes to heaven, the tax collector, who stood a long distance away, beat his chest and cried out, “God, be kind to a sinner!” I swear to you, this man went down to his house feeling justified, rather than the other way around.
It is not the self-righteous Pharisee who is deemed righteous in God’s eyes, but rather the humble sinner who receives God’s blessing.
Jesus ate with sinners because He “came to seek and to save the lost,” which means “to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
Those who accept Christ’s righteousness through faith in this life will have the opportunity to eat with Him again in the world to come (Revelation 3:20; 19:9) Truths that are related: What does it mean for Jesus to be a friend of sinners?
Was Jesus a sinless being? What was it like to be Jesus in historical times? Who was Jesus as a human being? What were the most significant events in Jesus’ life? Is it true that Jesus has a soft spot for tiny children, as we are taught? Return to the page: The Truth About Jesus Christ.
Jesus Eating With Sinners And Our Responsibility
We have made a promise to follow Jesus and to model our lives after the way He lived, but does that commitment include eating with sinners as well? In light of this, how do we cope with the reality that Jesus ate and drank with sinners on more than one occasion throughout his ministry? He frequented the company of persons that were less than reputable. Consider Mark 2:13-17, and you will find that what Jesus was modeling there is not what we often hear from our pulpits today. According to statistics, most Bible-believing Christians would behave more like the scribes and Pharisees than they would behave more like Jesus.
- 14 Then he noticed Levi son of Alphaeus seated at his tax collector’s booth as he was walking along.
- As a result, Levi rose to his feet and followed him.
- (There were a great number of people like this among Jesus’ disciples.) “Why does he dine with such scum?” they inquired of his followers when the professors of religious law who were Pharisees observed him dining with tax collectors and other sinners.
- Not those who believe they are virtuous have come to be called by me, but those who recognize that they are sinners.
What Did Jesus Model By Eating With Sinners
In this instance, we can see that Matthew was not on the lookout for Jesus, but rather was at work in his tax office. For the sake of our contemporary thinking, allow me to attempt to convey this in a way that they may comprehend how contentious it was for Jesus to perform this act. Matthew was the modern-day counterpart of an Internal Revenue Service auditor. He was the one who made the decisions about how much tax you had to pay. Not only that, but he was speaking on behalf of a government that was acting as an invading force.
He was referred to as “the lowest of the low.” Jesus made a special trip to see him.
Jesus Challenges Matthew to Follow Him
It is important to note that Jesus did not command anybody to join His new church, nor did he command anyone to adhere to a new doctrine or even one of the existing teachings or faiths. He did not attempt to manipulate or fool Matthew in any manner, but rather challenged him to begin to live a different way of life as a result of his experiences. Christian living is not about adhering to a religious tradition or a particular denomination, but rather about choosing a way of life that attempts to mimic the manner that Jesus lived and the character that Jesus possessed.
We’re here to challenge individuals to follow Jesus alone in whatever they do.
However, I feel that they have a role in the greater context of the church, which includes all of its members. In other words, my objective isn’t to convert people to my particular church or sect, but rather to convert them to the notion of following Jesus.
Jesus establishes a relationship with Matthew and his friends
It’s important to note that Jesus was just showing an interest in Matthew’s life. He was dining with sinners who happened to be Matthew’s acquaintances. Having said that, this is really essential to me. It demonstrates that Jesus was not just concerned with converting people. He wasn’t merely adding another name to the list of his followers. ‘I really wanted to be a part of Matthew’s life,’ he explained. The goal in front of him was to have a good impact on that life and the lives of others who circled around Matthew.
This is demonstrated by the fact that Jesus was well aware that there would be many who would condemn him based on who He associated with.
What you describe is not far off from what many people believe now, is it?
Those were the days when no one wanted to be seen with an IRS agent and a traitor.
In contrast, if I may paraphrase a statement from one of my favorite Star Trek movies, Jesus saw that “the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few.” He exemplified and proved that the needs of sinners were more essential than the needs of people who regarded themselves to be virtuous in their thinking.
To be likeJesus and follow Him, we must be missional in our approach to all we do.
Jesus claimed that it was His job to bring sinners to repentance in the Gospel of Matthew.
Are You Willing To Follow Jesus By Eating With Sinners?
We must make it a point to meet new individuals, even those who may not be well-liked or who may not have the best of reputations in the first place. As opposed to staying in our nice little clichés and comfy Christian gatherings and programs, we will have to make the conscious decision to begin eating with sinners in order to be effective. Forgive me for being harsh, but this means you will have to block your noses and ears, remove your grimaces, and dine with smokers, alcoholics, and those who have a potty tongue in order to avoid being humiliated.
- We are going to have to show them that we actually care about them and their surroundings.
- It was Matthew’s buddies who fed and entertained him.
- ‘I have come,’ he declared, “to preach the gospel to those who are poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to release prisoners, and to announce the coming of the season of God’s favor.” He had a goal to do!
- We are not there to convert them to a particular church, creed, or teaching, but rather to introduce them to our closest friend, Jesus Christ.
Do you still want to be a disciple of Jesus? Do you still want to be modeled like Him in your life? Are you willing to have a meal with sinners for the first time? That really is something to consider! Blessings Pastor Duke is a man of God.
To Dig Deeper Into This Topic, We Recommend
13For the second time, Jesus walked out to the lakeside. A big group of people gathered around him, B)”>(B), and he began to instruct them. In the distance, he noticed Levi son of Alphaeus, who was sitting at the tax collector’s station. “Follow me,” C)”>(C)Jesus instructed Levi, and he rose to his feet and followed him. 15While Jesus and his followers were having supper at Levi’s house, a large number of tax collectors and sinners were present, indicating that a large number of people had followed him.
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