The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Matthew 9:11 NABRE
Jesus meets Matthew a tax collector and calls him to be a follower. Jesus ends up at table with Matthew and other of his tax collector friends. Tax collectors were typically associated with sinners. The Jews didn’t associated with sinners as their influence might make the Jews sinners as well. Tax collectors work for Herod Antipas the son of King Herod the Great. The tax collectors typically took money from the Jews for Herod and were known for demanding more money than they were supposed to collect. Jesus calls Matthew the tax collector to be a disciple which would have been surprising. His calling signals Jesus has come to be a light in the world to all, not just the upright. It is considered scandalous for Jesus to enter the home of Matthew and have a meal, it would have made Jesus unclean and unable to enter the temple without purification. Additionally table fellowship expressed a solidarity, sharing food and drink symbolized a shared life. By sharing this meal with many tax collectors and sinners Jesus identifies Himself with these outsiders and welcomes them into His kingdom. Jesus is challenged by the righteous religious leaders and explains that those who are ill need a physician, not the healthy. Jesus has not come to call the righteous but to call sinners to repentance. Therefore Jesus spends more time with those who the world sees as unworthy, letting them know they are worthy in the kingdom of God.
Do you avoid those who are not as “good” as you because you don’t want them to influence your goodness? Jesus wants us to reach out to those who need help and bring them into the kingdom of God.
Who are your friends? Do you befriend the lowly, the sinner?Do you avoid those who are not as 'good' as you because you don't want them to influence your goodness? Jesus wants us to reach out to those who need help and bring them into the kingdom of God. Click To Tweet
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