Jesus Ate With Sinners

bing imagesBy Sandy Kirby Quandt

A favorite episode of mine in the life of Jesus is the account in Matthew chapter 9 where Jesus has called Matthew, the despised tax collector, to follow him. Matt is so excited to know Jesus, he throws Jesus and the other disciples a dinner party. To introduce his friends to the Messiah, Matt invites his buds…who happen to also be tax collectors.

Boy, oh boy, did the religious leaders of the day throw a hissy-fit. They accused Jesus of eating with sinners. Imagine that. The horror.

bing imagesWell, you know what? I’m glad Jesus did eat with those sinners because that shows me there’s hope I’ll get to sit down to dinner with Jesus too, some day.

Maybe you’ve been in similar situations. Maybe people who consider themselves righteous have questioned who you spend time with when you’re witnessing for Jesus. Maybe you’re the person others have questioned their friends about hanging around with, sharing the Gospel.

As I’ve mentioned before, the only opinion that matters is God’s.

Are we doing what God tells us in the Bible we’re supposed to do? Are we keeping from doing what he tells us we aren’t supposed to do? Have we committed our life to serving Jesus, and him only? Are we going into all the world…?

How can we be light to a world in darkness if we never meet those people who need the bing imageslight of Jesus shined into their dark world?

We’re supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus reaching out to those who need his touch. Hard to do if we never step close enough to speak those words of life.

Jesus ate with sinners…what about us?

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Later, as Jesus was in the house sitting at the dinner-table, a good many tax-collectors and other disreputable people came on the scene and joined him and his disciples. The Pharisees noticed this and said to the disciples, “Why does your master have his meals with tax-collectors and sinners?” But Jesus heard this and replied, “It is not the fit and flourishing who need the doctor, but those who are ill! Suppose you go away and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice’. In any case I did not come to invite the ‘righteous’ but the ‘sinners’.”  Matthew 9:10-13 (Phillips)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Don’t Keep the Love of God to Ourselves

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

In an earlier post, I mentioned how our hummingbirds were not willing to share. They chase each other away from the feeder. Seems one of our squirrels has the same problem. While there is enough food to go around, this particular squirrel hisses and snarls at any squirrel who happens to mosey into the backyard.

Like I said in the hummingbird post, Christians may be guilty of trying to keep our nectar, the love God has given us, to ourselves. We may be guilty of being selective as to with whom we are willing to share the Gospel. Exclusive as to whom we allow into our circle. Guilty of being what Rob Cook, one of the speakers at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference I recently attended, calls Zombie Churches. You know, they look alive on the outside, but are dead on the inside.

Rob CookDuring his keynote speech Rob mentioned many soul-searching thoughts. I’ll list a few of them here. R signifies the gist of what Rob said. S signifies my thoughts in response.

R – Jesus hung out with sinners. We don’t want them in our churches. S – Hello? Aren’t we all sinners saved by the grace of a loving God, and the sacrifice of Christ? Who are we to keep anyone away?

R – Jesus loved his enemies. We boycott ours. S – How can we reach out to our enemies with the love of God, if we’re always picking fights with them?

R – Jesus commanded his followers to make disciples. We make church goers. S – Hmmm…which one are we?

R – Jesus said we would be known for what we’re for. We’re know for what we stand against. S– Think about it…if you asked, which would someone outside your church be able to tell you. What you stand for, or stand against?

Rob challenges us not to worry with figuring out WWJD — What Would Jesus Do? Instead Rob asks us to DWJD — Do What Jesus Did. S — That means we need to read and study the Bible to find out.

Bing imagesRob gave an illustration…suppose you are drowning and see a lifeboat. You struggle to pull yourself into the boat. As you get ready to climb inside, you notice it is filled with vipers and haters. What would you do? Probably throw yourself into the water and take your chances right back in the middle of all the stuff you’ve been trying to escape. Safe haven? Hardly.

 

What about our churches? Are they filled with vipers and haters? Closer to home, what about us? Viper? Hater?

Instead of telling someone they are not wanted inside our churches because of the way they look, where they’re from, number of tattoos or piercings, how about we throw open the doors, get out into the streets, welcome one and all, and show the love the Father has shown us.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”

When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Matthew 9:10-13 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my devotions will appear on Christian Devotions June 10, 2014. Please stop by.