Day 8: Jesus Dines with the Dastardly

Read Matthew 9: 10-11, Mark 2:15
Read Luke 5: 29-30

Maybe things have changed since I was in high school (and I certainly hope so), but back then there the utterly exclusive and toxic high school ecosystem. The popular kids stood at the top of the pyramid and judged everyone beneath them, from jocks to cheerleaders, skateboarders, motorheads, math enthusiasts all the way to the outcasts. This latter tier often resorted to eating lunch alone in the cafeteria, wolfing down their meal as quickly as possible to escape the embarrassment of dining with a table of empty chairs.

I’m ashamed to admit I rarely had the courage to join them.

Thank goodness Jesus isn’t like me.

As we saw yesterday, Jesus called Matthew to follow Him and was subsequently invited into His new apostle’s home. Matthew prepared a grand feast for Jesus and his disciples as well as tax collectors and other “sinners” (Matthew 9:10).

Were Jesus like my high school brethren, He would’ve avoided this table like the plague. Instead, He was stoked to join them.

That’s the awesome thing about Jesus – He LOVES messy people. He doesn’t judge or grade His friends on a “coolness” scale. He accepts everyone, even in the face of opposition.

See, the Pharisees didn’t understand why Jesus “lowered” Himself to associate with these people, many of whom were outcast by society. “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” they asked the disciples (Matthew 9:11), no doubt in a snooty and condescending tone.

Unfortunately, we’re all sinners. We’ve all fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) and none of us deserve to dine with Jesus.

But He doesn’t care.

He loves us and, if we invite Him in, He’ll excitedly pull up a seat to the table.

What the Pharisees missed is that Jesus doesn’t care about works or status. He cares about our hearts. In Matthew, He saw a man capable of and passionate for something greater, and Jesus pursued him. And He’ll do the same with you, no matter where you fall in the world’s hierarchy.

Our sinful minds are bound to prioritize human acceptance, but try to forget what people think. Their opinions won’t get you into Heaven or help you live your best life.

Jesus will. And He’s pulling up a seat at your table, no matter how many others are sitting around you.