Saturday, February 6, 2010
2/6/10- Matthew 9:11,12; 11:16-19 Jesus and Parties
11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
12 On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 11:16"To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: 17" 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge and you did not mourn.' 18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' 19The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." ' But wisdom is proved right by her actions."
Calvin abridged: The scribes attacked Christ for eating and drinking with the unworthy. But if the one you detest appears to be unworthy of the grace of Christ, why was Christ made a sacrifice and a curse- except that he stretches out his hand to detestable sinners? Now if we feel disgust at being associated by Baptism and the Lord’s Supper with the vile, and regard our connection with them as a sort of stain upon us- then we ought to look deep into ourselves, and to search out our own evils without flattery. Such an examination will make us willing to allow ourselves to be washed in the same fountain with the most impure people. Looking at our own faults will keep us from rejecting the righteousness which he offers indiscriminately to all the ungodly, the life which he offers to the dead, and the salvation he offers to the lost.
Thoughts: Jesus ate and drank with sinners. He rubbed elbows with them. He did not retreat from them in fear that they might pollute him, rather he purposefully infiltrated their ranks so that his salt might get out of the saltshaker and his light might not be hidden under a bushel! Yet, in the end, he, not the retreating-from-sin-Pharisees, was judged as the sinless one. In the end, sin is found in the monastery and the convent. There is a time to run away from it (a la Joseph and his master’s wife). There is a time for worship in which we leave the sinful world behind. But Jesus risked being called a glutton and a partier to reach out to others. Jesus was accused of not fasting- but he did fast (Mt 4, 6), just not all the time- and not for show. Jesus was not the bitter or “pale Galilean” (Swineburn), but someone who ate and drank, enjoyed life and people. He had a great balance- which we ought to imitate; a balance of being with people but not giving into the ways of the world. He was with sinners but showed it was possible to resist sin. He was with drunkards without getting drunk. In fact, he healed those caught in the spiral of worldliness- healing the sex consumed woman at the well, and Mary Magdalene’s demons, and Zacchaeus’ greed- going to his house. He touched the leper in order to heal him when others were running away. Jesus came to eat and drink with sinners, because if he didn’t eat with sinners, he would have eaten alone- for we all sin. Tomorrow is the Superbowl, a chance to eat chips and drink a softdrink (or even a beer) with those neighbors we may not see in church. It is always easier to be around church folk, and it is important to have fellowship with them. But we should also look for opportunities to be salt and light in a flavorless world.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for leaving the perfection of heaven to come down to earth for me. Help me to respond and gratitude by living out your gospel before others.