Summary: The self-righteous religious rulers of Jesus’ day didn’t want much to do with sinners - but that was precisely the point of Jesus coming to earth! They wouldn’t receive sinners, but Jesus would ~ and He did! Will you?

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The custom of the family visiting around the dinner table = Perhaps a lost art

+ Some = My family = Enjoyed visiting during meals = But also after, living room

+ And then we would play cards and that’s when the real visiting began

+ Some = My wife’s family = Loved to linger at the table after the meal and chat

+ (Of course, that has the advantage of prolonging the meal AND DESERT...Amen & amen!)

Luke 15:1-2 = Publicans and sinners were excluded from the religious community

+ Publicans = tax collectors = and their agents = tolls & customs duties

+ Regardless of the character of the man = The job made them "unwholesome"

+ Regarded as collaborators with the Romans

+ The nationalistic religious crowd (Zealots, scribes & pharisees looking for Messiah, waiting for the redemption of Israel) especially despised them

+ Sinners = [a] = Those who did not eat food in ritual purity

+ [b] = Anyone who lived "sinfully" = Yes, all those you think of first

+ Also = Not necessarily a life-style full of sin

+ Those who did not observe / observe strictly the religious laws / duties / obligations

+ Especially those mandated by the scribes & Pharisees

+ And lived as though they did not care what the religious community thought about them

Jesus’ behavior here runs counter to the standards of piety among his Jewish contemporaries.

+ Table fellowship indicated intimate relations among those who shared it

+ "receiveth" = To admit to hospitality

+ Suggests you are looking for and waiting for a particular person to entertain

+ And the verb is in the "middle voice" = Stresses the subject (Jesus) is doing the action

+ And that action is "eateth" = Not just to "eat with" but "to take food in company with"

+ Almost suggests Jesus is the host = Perhaps not so for "the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" (Matt. 8:20, Luke 9:58)

+ But that helps understand the seriousness of the crime with which he’s being charged here

And to the prosecution, this was a serious crime

+ The Pharisees were particularly scrupulous about their special rules on eating

+ Did not like to eat with those less scrupulous = Esp. "publicans and sinners"

+ And they would look at Jesus = Reputation for being a wise teacher

+ They assumed He ought to share their religious convictions

It is true that the OT gave clear warning on the danger of spending time with sinners

+ ie: Prov. 1:10, 15-16; 13:20-21

+ In the OT God instructed "sinners" in His way

+ ie: Ps. 25:8-9 = The humble who knew their need

+ It is clear that the moral influence is from Jesus to the sinners (not the reverse) = [1]

+ And this kind of controversy is nothing new to Jesus

+ Nicodemus coming to see Him at night = Early in 1st year of ministry = Reputation

+ Near end of 1st year = Call’s Levi (Matthew) = A publican!

+ ie: Luke 5:27-28 = Take heed to what [28] says, please!

Jesus often would use the common images of the day to make His point

+ ie: Physician seeking those who are sick = Luke 5:29-32

+ And Jesus is going to do that here as he communicates God’s message to his listeners during this wonderfully intimate fellowship

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