As Jesus continued on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at a kiosk for collecting taxes. He said to him, “Follow me,” and he got up and followed him. As Jesus sat down to eat in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners joined Jesus and his disciples at the table. But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard it, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. Go and learn what this means: I want mercy and not sacrifice. I didn’t come to call righteous people, but sinners” (Matthew 9:9-13, Common English Bible).
I have always heard it said, “There is no such thing as a stupid question.” For the most part I have pretty well accepted that during my life. The Pharisees question to Jesus’ disciples I think proves that old saying wrong. “But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?'” I don’t know about you, but I think this qualifies as a stupid question! (Maybe I should have titled today’s post, “What a Stupid Question”)
Please, let me explain by answering their question with one of my own, (I know, you aren’t supposed to answer a question with a question, please don’t tell the rhetoric police) but I hope mine isn’t as stupid as the one asked by the Pharisees. Who else was Jesus supposed to eat with?
That is how I would answer the ridiculous question of the Pharisees. Think about it. The only person in the room, really on the planet that wasn’t a sinner was Jesus! The Pharisees loved to think they weren’t sinners, but the truth says they were exactly that. They were human beings, not God, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” That would mean when it came to being sinners, they were qualified for the job!
I do find it interesting that the Pharisees asked the disciples why Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners. It almost sounds to me like the Pharisees might have been willing to give the disciples a promotion from being an ordinary sinner. Nah! As soon as they had what they wanted, the Pharisees would have started comparing the disciples to themselves. “Why does Jesus eat with fishermen and sinners?” It would be a comparison the Pharisees would never let the disciples win.
Without question, the Pharisees thought they were better than everyone else. Even if you could find a Pharisee who would admit to being a sinner, they were still better than all the other sinners be they tax-collectors or the less serious sinners, fishermen or anyone else around that couldn’t claim the name Pharisee.
Today we need to be careful too. All too often, just like the Pharisees, we point the finger at those other sinners out there. Perhaps we aren’t real willing to sit and eat a meal with someone like that. Maybe that is when we need to really stop and remember Jesus’ words from the end of our lesson today, “I didn’t come to call righteous people, but sinners.” Lest we forget, none of us are really righteous, we are all sinners. That is why Jesus came. He came to call you, and me.
How do you see those in the world around you?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved