A Banquet at Levi’s house.
Matthew 9:10; Mark 2:14;Luke 5:27-28
One of the first dinner parties we see Jesus attending is at the home of Matthew the tax collector. Jesus calls Matthew to follow him. Matthew leaves his tax collector’s booth and follows Jesus. Then Matthew invites Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests.
Not only does he invite these new friends but he also invites many other tax collectors and disreputable sinners. Ooops!!! Big faux pas!! Just a few verses before, Jesus had healed a paralytic and forgiven his sins. After a discussion with the religious leaders, Jesus tells the man to “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” Matthew 9:6 NASB. The crowds were “awestruck and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.”
Now the religious leaders have followed him to Matthew’s home to keep a closer eye on this man who doesn’t follow “traditional” customs of the Jews. Culturally, it was social suicide to eat with the tax collectors and sinners. Jesus broke the rules. He had come to introduce a new kingdom. One that was personal. One that was relational. One that was moved by compassion more than the traditions of men. The Pharisees were not pleased with Him. People had just glorified God because of the things he was doing to heal and meet the people where they were.
Jesus heard their questions to the disciples and said, “it is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire compassion and not sacrifice. for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners. (Matthew 9:10 NASB)
JESUS DESIRES COMPASSION AND NOT SACRIFICE
Jesus desired compassion and not sacrifice. He wanted to connect and what better way to connect with people than to share a meal together. So much did He enjoy eating and communion with people that Luke 19:10 tells us, “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him!’ A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” In Tim Chester’s book, A Meal with Jesus, the author writes, “He did evangelism and discipleship round a table with some grilled fish, a loaf of bread and a pitcher of wine.”
Which now begs the question, what is my testimony to others? Have we missed a valuable key in ministry? The church of today seems so disconnected, so self serving, so very much a venue of entertainment. We find ourselves texting instead of talking but yet airing our angry outbursts on social media.
The missing connection???? Do we feel desired compassion? We throw money at causes soothing ourselves into believing we are contributing to a solution. In reality, people are hurting and desire to have a meal with a friend and have someone to listen and be there for them.
We just spent the weekend with some of our long time friends. We laughed and had several simple meals together. It was a wonderful time enjoying one another. We all came home refreshed and feeling that was what life is all about. We all love the Lord. It wasn’t where we stayed, what we ate, or that it rained cats and dogs the entire weekend that made it a great time. It was that we connected.
We will be looking at some of the other times Jesus dined with people. In His words, we will, “Go and learn what it means to desire compassion and not sacrifice” as well as other lessons we will see from Dining with Jesus and Feasting with the Father.