Blessed… Why Does Your Teacher Eat with…Sinners?”

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 sacrificeI 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


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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