Jesus Ate With Sinners

Matthew 9:9-13And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. 10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Mark 2:14-17And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him. 15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Luke 5:27-32And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. 28 And he left all, rose up, and followed him. 29 And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. 30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? 31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. 32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Luke 15:1-3Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,…


Luke 7:31-35And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? 32 They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. 33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. 34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! 35 But wisdom is justified of all her children.


Purpose of this message:

  1. Be careful of compromise.
  2. Be careful to reach sinners.
  3. I went to the wedding of David and Shawn Lawson.  He asked that we come, but he also made sure the drinking, dancing or whatever else would not take place until the wedding and the meal were over.  He said he wanted his people to come and they would not come if there would be drinking and such.  He also gave me his address and phone number, and apologized that he was never at home when I came to visit him and invite him to church.  He knew what I was coming for.  He asked that we pray that God make his way hard so he would obey the Lord.
  4. I normally do not attend the wedding of people that have lived together before marriage because (most of the time) they desire to correct the wrong of living together by getting married.  That does not correct the wrong.  I am glad they are finally getting married.  If they really want to correct the wrong of living together, then let them separate when they determine they want to do right.  Let them marry after a time of living (and being) apart (pure).
  5. Another example – many couples want to get married when the woman discovers she is pregnant.  They use I Corinthians 7:36.  The subject of this chapter is worship.  The Corinthian church believed they could not touch their husbands/wives.  Paul instructed them they could engage in the bliss of marriage and still be pure before God.  Verse 36 is not speaking about a woman becoming pregnant, then getting married to cover it up or make it right.  The man here is dad, who does not sin when he gives his daughter to marriage.  The flower of her age is when she becomes a woman as is revealed in her menstrual period.  Her desire is to marry, thus fulfilling the necessities of the flesh.



Jesus told Matthew (Levi) to follow him – not only did Matthew follow him, but Matthew invited many of his friends to follow Jesus also, inviting them to a meal at his home.  The sinners and publicans came to Jesus – he did not come to them. (See all four texts)

The Pharisees found fault – Sinners did not deny they were sinners.

Pharisees spoke to the disciples in order to confuse them and cast doubt on their motives and the motives of Jesus.  The Pharisees did not speak to Jesus.

The meal was not a social gathering.  Sinners did not ask Jesus to come to their home to eat.  They did ask Jesus to come and heal their sick, raise their dead, so forth.


Luke 19:5 – Jesus told Zacchaeus he would eat with him that day.  This is the only time I can find in the Bible where Jesus invited himself to eat with a sinner.  The result of this meeting was the salvation of Zacchaeus and fruits of repentance (Verse 8).  In verse 7, Jesus is once again accused of eating and drinking with sinners.  Zacchaeus is accused of being a sinner because he is one continually and habitually.  In verse 8, Zacchaeus declares he is going to stop being a continually sinner. Time will tell the truth.

Publican - a renter or farmer of taxes

1.       among the Romans, usually a man of equestrian rank

2.       a tax gatherer, collector of taxes or tolls, one employed by a publican or farmer general in the collection of taxes. The tax collectors were as a class, detested not only by the Jews, but by other nations also, both on account of their employment and of the harshness, greed, and deception, with which they did their job.

Sinner - devoted to sin, a sinner

1.       not free from sin

2.       pre-eminently sinful, especially wicked

3.       all wicked men

4.       specifically of men stained with certain definite vices or crimes

5.       tax collectors, heathen


What is a sinner?  This is one who is devoted to sin, not just a “regular sinner”, but one who is steeped in sin and desires to remain there.


Some questions:

1.       Did sinners invite Christ to eat with them?  The scriptures reveal that sinners never asked Christ to eat with them.  They always came to him.  The significance of this is that sinners never ask Christ to compromise.  These sinners understood that Jesus would compromise the scriptural teaching of marriage if he went into their home at their request.  Jesus did speak to the woman at the well, but not in her home with her “live-in” present.  He spoke to her by the well – a public place.

2.       Why would they want Jesus to eat with them?  Eating is fellowship, acceptance, partaking of the same life-giving food.  When sinners came to Jesus, they were saying they would leave their lifestyle and submit to the lifestyle Christ taught.

3.       Did sinners expect Christ to accept their sins?  Never.  And they showed this by coming to Christ, and not expecting him to come to them.


Many want the children of God to be a part of them, accepting their evil and wicked lifestyles, and twisting the scriptures to make us feel like we are rejecting them if we show any sign at all of rejecting their sin.  These sinners do not want us to point out their sinfulness, their sins, or their wickedness.  They want to be accepted like they are, without any repentance. They will tell us they will not (or cannot) repent because we have rejected them.  They do not want to realize we are rejecting their sin, not them.