Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Pharisees Have a Problem: Eating With Sinners

The word used for “sinner” in this passage actually refered to notoriously evil people as well as those who refused to follow the Mosaic law as interpreted by the teachers of the law.

Anyone eating with these "sinners" was assigning friendship to them and ran the risk of ceremonial uncleanness. Matthew wanted his friends to be able to experience the same forgiveness and joy that Jesus had given him, and Jesus freely came.

How closely does this picture resemble your church?
* How often have you introduced Jesus to your friends in this joyful, generous way?
* How approachable are you?
* Do you keep your distance from certain types of people?
* Or are you the kind of person that puts others at ease?
* Can you name five people you know that need to be introduced to Jesus Christ?
* How about three? If you are struggling to come up with names, you're out of circulation!
Christians are to bring others to Christ

The Pharisees had a real problem with this. They were expecting a Messiah who would crush the sinful and support the righteous. Instead Jesus welcomed the sinner and dismissed the Pharisees.
And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" [Matthew 9:11]
Notice Who answers them! Jesus heard what they were talking about, standing on the outskirts of this banquet
Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." [Luke 5:31-32]
which is from Hosea 6:6,
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
What do you do when you’re criticized? Isn’t the first instinct is to either defend yourself, or get the other person back? But Jesus didn’t do either of these things. He explained to his critics what He was doing so that they could learn. The Lord said He came for the very people the Pharisees had rejected and expelled because they knew they were sick, they knew they needed to be healed.

He came to give forgiveness to those who were filled with sorrow over their sins. Jesus did not come for the people who felt they’re perfectly healthy and didn’t need a doctor. It is God’s desire for you and I to extend to others the same covenant love He gives to us. That is more important, more valuable to God than any religious observance.

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