Jesus Eats with “Scum”

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with such scum?"

Matthew 9:10-11

The Pharisees were upset by the fact that Jesus ate with those they considered "sinners," indeed, even "scum." It wasn't just that Jesus hung out with such unsavory characters. In his culture, eating with somebody implied an intimate relationship. One shared table fellowship only with those of whom one approved, and with whom one was willing to share one's life. The Pharisees were especially scrupulous with regard to their eating partners, believing that they were honoring God with their separatism. Thus they were greatly scandalized by Jesus' apparent lack of religious commitment.

How glad I am that Jesus opens his table to "scum" . . . scum like me! I can have intimate fellowship with Jesus, not because I've earned the right through my efforts, but because he has graciously invited me. And you too! Even when we've done that which dishonors the Lord, his heart and his table are still open to us. With him we find forgiveness, friendship, and new life.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When you sin, do you withdraw from fellowship with Jesus? Do you feel the need to hide from him when you feel like "scum"? Or do you rejoice in the fact that Jesus still has fellowship with sinners?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for opening your table, and, indeed, your heart, to sinners. What I observe in the Gospels gives me the reassurance that you welcome me into your presence. Thank you for this astounding gift!

May I take advantage of your offer of table fellowship, even when I'm struggling with sin. Help me to open my soul to you, to confide in you my failures and frustrations. May I grow in the friendship you graciously offer to me.

And then, dear Lord, help me to imitate your example, to open my home, my table, and my heart to those who need you. Whether I'm at work or at church, may I look for those to invite into the fellowship I have with you. Amen.