9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 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. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Jesus sets up shop with rough fishermen, swindlers and whores. His disciples are not the aesthetics like John the Baptist’s disciples or legalists like the Pharisees. The Pharisees demonize Jesus and his disciples. The fact that they are former whores and reneades is just proof that this new movement is demonic. John second guesses his opinions of Jesus. Jesus is not eating locusts and wild honey or wearing rough clothing. Jesus engages with the crooked Matthew at a party in the comfort of his own home. What John and the Pharisees are loking for is adherence to established forms of religion, but Jesus ploughs a new furrow. Jesus is looking for those who will forsake their previous life and then take up a life of personal allegiance to him. This has been the stuff of culs in recent years. Personality cults call people to follow a great leader, but the leader is always shown to disappoint, be a fraud, or be insane. C.S. Lewis calls us to evaluate jesus’ claims about himself. Was he a liar who thought he could gain by making inflated claims about himself? Was he a lunatic like Charles Manson or David Koresh? Or was Jesus who he said he was?
- With whom did Jesus associate imself?
- Who had suspicions about these associations?
- What kind of people did jesus call out of the crowds to be his disciples?
- What hope is there for you?
- How do you feel about those who do not do the right thing but claim to be close to God? How is that similar or different from this passage?