Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:15-17
Interestingly, it is not clear in the Greek whose house this was. We always assume that it is Levi’s house, and probably a good guess because it is large enough to accommodate a good number of people. Either way, it begs the question, “Guess who’s coming to dinner?” Publicans like Levi would not have expected that a Rabbi would be dining at their table, and no good Rabbi would likely invite a tax collector to dine with them. The reaction of the scribes and Pharisees is predictable either way.
When Jesus hears them asking the disciples, he messes with them by throwing out a “Kobayashi Maru” statement (no-win scenario). “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous but sinners. If you don’t get the joke, you need to dig deep. Jesus is poking at the religious types because they have convinced themselves that they are not sinners, but the “others” are, and they are indignant that Jesus would even consider dining with them.
I find that the older I get, the humbler I get when it comes to the things of God. It is not because I am unsure of my faith, just the opposite. I am just plumbing the surface! The deeper I go in my journey, the more wonderfully mysterious and infinite the Triune God of Grace truly is. I am a work in progress!
Forgive us when we see ourselves as being better than our neighbors. Humble us so we may better serve you the people you have called us to serve.
I pray this in the name of the One who dines with sinners. Amen!