Summary: It was a scandal. Jesus was hanging out with some folk who were not well-respected. In fact, they were religious and social outcasts – and Jesus is not only eating with them, He is enjoying their company.
9 September 2005
How Could God Love Someone Like Me?
As we get started this morning, I want to begin with a question.
If Jesus were walking among us today, would He eat at Lauren’s sports bar, “Goony Birds?”
If you’re thinking that I’m being disrespectful or irreverent, I want you to hold that thought – the Lord has something for you today.
What would you think of me if you saw me hanging out with folks at Goony Birds?
I don’t mean church members; I mean hanging out with the guys.
You know the ones that gawk at the girls and talk vulgarly.
Would you think less of me?
Would it bother you if Jesus liked to eat the hot wings down there?
It bothers some for me to talk about Him doing it.
You might think to yourself, “Jesus would never go in a place like that.”
Or you might try to justify Jesus’ actions.
“Well, Jesus might go in a place like that. But if He did, it would be to win the lost.”
What if I suggested to you that Jesus might go in a place like that simply because He enjoyed the company?
In our text this morning, Matthew is going to relate to us the account of his personal call and the feast that follows that call.
You won’t find the word feast in Matthew’s account – but Luke uses that word.
He says that a feast was thrown for this event, and in the process of the feast the Pharisees and scribes take occasion to attack Jesus’ association with the guests.
Jesus was hanging out with some folk who were not well-respected.
In fact, they were religious and social outcasts – and Jesus is not only eating with them, He is enjoying their company.
Let’s read Matthew 9:9-13:
“And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me, And he arose, and followed him. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
We are dealing here with our Lord’s purpose for coming to earth.
Why did He come?
Here He says specifically that He came to call sinners to repentance, but it is this conflict with the Pharisees that grabs our attention.
You see, here are two distinct groups of people: the publicans and sinners on the one hand with whom Jesus has chosen to accept and associate with, and the Pharisees on the other hand with whom He has not.
What I want you to see today is that Jesus also wants to have a close relationship with you today.
He longs for your fellowship.
He has a great desire for you to sit and feast at His table.
His desire is for you to delight in His presence; not just to sit in His presence, but to delight in it: to enjoy it and to celebrate it.
When was the last time you celebrated the presence of God?
How long has it been since you delighted in your relationship with Christ?
Perhaps you have never experienced what I am talking about.
Regardless of whether you have or not, I want to give you three ideas to consider in hopes that your relationship with Jesus Christ will move from formal to fondness and from duty to delight.
It is my hope and prayer that if you have never placed your faith in Him that you will do so today.
You Were Created for Communion with Him, that is, to have a close relationship with Christ.
Are you aware of the fact that God created you for communion with Him?
If you’ll look around you everyday, you will see the evidences of what is at the heart of man: it is a desire to feel close to people and fellowship with them.
It happens every day in coffee shops around the world, at sports bars and clubs, at lodges, honkytonks, pool halls, shopping malls, and right here at__________________and everywhere else.
What do you think is behind the explosion of cell phones and the internet?
Lonely people all over the world are engaging people they’ve never met because they’re starving for fellowship; but all that desire for fellowship began in the garden.