"JESUS AND SINNERS"
Intro. Mark shows us how the antagonism against Jesus has started very early in His ministry. In each one of the episodes in chapter 2 we find them criticizing Jesus. This continues through the first episode in chapter 3 until in verse 6 we read. "And the Pharisees went forth and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against Him, how they might slay Him."
I. THERE IS A CERTAIN DANGER IN KEEPING COMPANY WITH PUBLICANS AND SINNERS.
A. In the first Psalm we read, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, who standeth not in the way with sinners."
1. Bad company has led to the downfall of many a person.
2. If you are with a person who is committing a crime, you are known as an accomplice.
3. The peer pressure of the evil crowd can lead a person to do things they would otherwise never do.
4. Solomon said,
My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:
Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:
We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:
Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:
My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:
For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.
B. So there is reason for their shock and alarm over Jesus having a feast with such a crowd of publicans and sinners.
1. The publicans were the tax collectors and were hated big time, for they were considered collaborators with Rome. They were usually dishonest.
2. In their customs the idea of eating with a person was equivalent to becoming one with that person.
a. A good Jew would never think of eating with a sinner or a Gentile, for that was tantamount in their minds to becoming one with that person.
b. If you are eating of the same loaf of bread, dipping in the same soup, you are both being nourished by the same bread and soup which is being assimilated in both of your bodies hence becoming a part of each other.
3. Here when Jesus was feasting with the sinners and publicans, it was a great shock to them.
II. The response of Jesus to their criticism, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but those who are sick."
A. He sort of admitted that He was in sick company. Men with sick minds and sick humor.
1. These are the very people He has come to seek and to save.
a. Jesus said, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save, those who are lost.
b. He was willing to associate with them that He might lift them out of the miry clay in which they were sinking.
c. He was there as a physician, to heal.
2. It is one thing to keep company with sinners to be a part of the gang. Quite another to be in their midst in order to bring to them the light of God's love.
B. When Jesus prayed for us in John 17
He said to the Father,
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
1. We live in the world and we cannot escape from it, though I must confess that many times I wish I could.
a. I find myself wishing that I could go with a group of pilgrims to some new unconquered territory, and establish a new Constitution with such safeguards that in years to come the Supreme Court could not so interpret it as to totally change its meaning and intent.
b. I find myself wishing that I could live in a righteous Christian community where we would not have to have locks on our doors.
c. I will be soon moving to such a community, and my wishes will become a reality, and there shall be no more tears or sorrows or suffering, only the righteous will be able to enter there, and the courts will not force you to accept the ungodly and unrighteous acts of perverted people.
2. A Christian is much like a ship which is made to be in the water, the danger arises only when the water gets into the ship. You are made to be in the world, but a real problem arises when the world begins to be in you.
III. WHY WOULD JESUS IDENTIFY WITH SINNERS?
A. He gave to them the reason. As a physician to heal the sick, and to call sinners to repentance.
B. I believe that it goes even a little deeper than that. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians he said,
For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
1. This was that He might fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah,
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
2. The Father said concerning Him,
He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
3. He became what we are, that we might become what He is. John said,
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
4. Again he said,
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:
5. In the last story of chapter one, we see that Jesus was willing to touch the unclean, to make him clean.
a. Here we see Him eating with sinners in order to call them to righteousness.
b. In it we have the same idea, of touching the unclean to make it clean.
B. The story demonstrates that Jesus is not afraid of coming down to your level to lift you out of your sin.
1. As bad and unrighteous as you may be, He is willing to eat with you if through that, He can lift you out.
2. He isn't afraid of touching you to make you clean.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
For such an high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
D. Though He ate with the sinners, He was always separate from sinners. Though He was tempted, yet He was without sin.