Believe it or not, I think the question the Pharisees ask Jesus was a fair one. “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matt.9:11) There are many lessons that can be learned from this section of scripture, but a new angle on it struck me today.
On another note, I am going out of the country where there will be no Wi-Fi, so there will be a fabulous guest writer for the blog while I am gone. Have a great week reading! I will be reading too and look forward to reading the comments when I get back!
Picture these devout teachers of the Old Testament. They would know Psalm 1:1, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners nor sit in the seat of scoffers.” They were living that Psalm literally. The same teaching of Psam 1:1 is found in Paul’s writing in the New Testament, “Do not be deceived; ‘Bad company ruins good morals!’ (1 Cor. 15:33) So, if the writings of the Bible, no matter where they are placed (Old or New Testament) stand as truth, how do we reconcile two concepts that seem to contradict each other? I think I would be asking Jesus the same question, do we “sit” with sinners or not?
Well, if you look closely at what Jesus says, he refers to the sinners as sick people (vs.12). As a nurse, when I had a patient in isolation, I had to garb up in full gear to protect myself before entering the room to give help to the sick one. I had no business entering that room if I didn’t “gown up”. In fact, I would be fired from my position if I entered “as is" and came out contaminated. Being irresponsible by putting myself in danger and everyone else I came into contact with when I exited the room would cost me my job.
In the same way a Christian needs to wear their full gear (Eph. 6:10-17) everyday, as they go about their life encountering “sick” people and eating with them. If one is to hang out with sinners as Jesus did, one better know the Bible really well (belt of truth and use of the sword), they better be walking the walk (breastplate of righteousness) and whole heartedly believe in God’s character and redemption plan, with no wavering (shield of faith). Jesus was all that! He was dressed and ready to help the sick. Consider that the next time you want to “be like Jesus” and hang out with a friend or family member who is not a believer. Are you really loving that sick one like Jesus would? Check your gear!