Lesson 19: Jesus Forgives, Calls And Eats With Sinners (Matthew 9:1-17)Related Media
I. Intro and Recap:
a. In chapters (8 and 9) we see Jesus demonstrate his authority.
i. The sermon on the mountain ended with a segwey statement on Jesus’ authority.
ii. The crowds were astonished by His teaching and in particular, His authority.
iii. Mathew is making the case for Jesus’ authority.
1. Clearly He taught with authority, but look what else He did...
2. He is mighty in word AND deed.
b. We have seen Jesus
i. Heal a Leper (8:1-4).
ii. Heal a Gentile (8:5-13).
iii. Heal a Peter’s mother-in-law (8:14-17).
iv. He calms a storm.
v. He heals two-demon possessed guys.
i. In this passage, He heals a paralytic, but Matthew deliberately showcases Jesus ability not only to heal, but to forgive.
ii. Jesus forgives, calls, and eats with sinners.
iii. He came for sinners, not the righteous.
iv. We get a window into the heart of Jesus’ ministry here.
II. Jesus Forgives Sinners (9:1-8).
a. Jesus crossed back over the Sea of Galilee to head back to Capernaum.
b. Immediately we see Jesus in someone’s home.
i. We know from Mark and Luke, that the home was crowded with people.
c. And this paralytic is lowered through the roof by his friends.
i. Good friends brings their friends to Jesus.
ii. They all obviously believed Jesus had the power to heal.
d. Jesus says to him, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”
i. Imagine Jesus saying this to you?
ii. Notice how Jesus puts the man at ease.
iii. There is this sense, that “everything is gonna be alright.”
e. “Your sins are forgiven…”
i. This is unusual.
ii. Why does Jesus say this?
f. The Scribes are talking to themselves saying, “This man is blaspheming.”
i. The Scribes are the guardians of the Law.
1. They are the keepers of the Law.
2. They spend their days thinking about theology.
ii. They realize that this is a claim of deity.
1. Only God can forgive sins, and any other claim is pure and utter blasphemy.
iii. Only God can forgive sins, and Jesus is making that claim.
iv. To their credit, they were theologically right on.
v. The irony however, is that the Pharisees and Scribes are the real paralytics.
g. Three reasons Jesus says this:
i. He does it to show the paralytic that his primary need is forgiveness of sins.
1. He is speaking in the present tense.
2. His sins are forgiven NOW, not later.
3. Much like the OT saints had true forgiveness of sins based on the future work of Christ, this man is forgiven sins based on the near future work of the cross.
ii. He does it to show that He is Himself God.
1. This is a clear statement of the fact that He is God.
iii. He does it demonstrate that He not only has the authority to heal, He has the power to forgive sins.
1. Remember this section is about the authority of Jesus.
a. 8-9 is about the authority of Jesus.
2. Maybe the healing was contrived? Maybe the healing was a hoax?
3. Anyone can say “your sins are forgiven.” You can’t see it. You can’t feel it. You can’t touch it. It’s not empirical.
4. But no one can say to someone who is obviously and verifiably paralyzed, “Rise, pick up your bed and go home.”
5. The salvation that Jesus brings is comprehensive.
a. It’s isn’t just healing for the body, it’s healing for the soul.
h. The reaction to the miracle(s).
i. They were afraid.
1. The word is “phobia.”
2. They were struck with phobia.
3. Or, “They were awe-struck.”
ii. They glorified God.
iii. They reacted as someone would who was in the very presence of God.
iv. They marveled that God has distributed his authority on earth, not just in heaven.
v. Literally, heaven came down, and glory filled their souls.
III. Jesus Calls Sinners (9:9)
a. Jesus calls Matthew the Tax Collector (or Levi, in the other gospels).
i. At this time in world history the Romans were the big guns.
1. The Romans government was innovative, but ruthless.
2. And one of the black eyes of the Roman government was its heavy taxation.
3. There were two main taxes:
a. Toll tax= which was basically like income tax.
b. Property Tax.
4. The elite (senators and rich folks) could buy at a public auction, the right to collect the toll taxes in a given area, at a fixed rate for a five year period.
5. Whatever was collected beyond that fixed rate was profit.
6. So if you held the rights to a specific area, you would then hire people to actually collect the money. And you would usually hire people citizens of that country or regions to collect the money.
7. And any money they collected, above and beyond their requirement, was profit for them.
8. So there was a HUGE incentive to tax as much as possible, AND you had the backing of the Roman government and the Roman army.
9. So naturally, if you are a Jew collecting money for Rome, at a rate that handsomely pads your wallet, you are not going to win the popularity contest at the local synagogue.
10. Usually tax collectors were not allowed in the synagogue. Rabbis did not associate with them.
11. In fact they were seen as traitors. They were on the same level as prostitutes and Gentiles.
12. That’s Matthew. He is a tax collector and Jesus calls Him to be one of his 12 disciples.
b. Matthew was an outcast.
i. Matthew was a political outcast.
ii. Matthew was a religious outcast.
1. Tax Collectors were unclean. They were banned from all synagogue services.
iii. Matthew was a social outcast.
1. He’s basically like a political, religious, and social terrorist.
2. People would no more have a meal with Matthew, than a US patriot would want to have a meal with the Boston Bombers.
3. These guys come to our country, leech from our taxes, and inflict injury on our people.
4. It’s outrageous!
5. In Matthew’s case it’s even worse.
6. He’s a traitor. He’s working for the enemy to exploit his own race.
c. Jesus calls Matthew:
i. He sees Matthew sitting at a tax booth, and he says, “Follow me.”
ii. This is the same thing he said to the other disciples.
iii. Matthew knows that this is not some trivial call to follow him across the block. This isn’t a playground game of follow-the-leader.
iv. This is a call to discipleship.
v. This is a call to leave your life of sin and corruption, and repent.
vi. This is a call to completely change your life.
vii. In Matthew’s case, this was a call to leave a life of wealth and prosperity, and become poor.
viii. Further more, there is basically no way Matthew could find another job. Who would hire him?
ix. Fisherman could buy some boats and start fishing again, but not tax collectors.
x. This was major!
xi. Luke’s gospel says he “Left everything.”
d. Matthew rose and followed Jesus.
i. Matthew is truly converted:
e. Lesson: Matthew models true discipleship.
i. True discipleship is for anyone.
1. Notice Jesus calls a totally unlikely candidate.
2. Some people might be tempted to think that being a true disciple of Jesus means you need to be seminary trained.
3. Or being a true disciple only applies to those in their 20’s and 30’s, not for those in the 80’s and 90’s, and certainly not for teens.
4. Others might be tempted to think that true discipleship is for those who have their lives together, but it’s not for someone like themselves who have lived in sin and done unspeakable things.
5. Matthew is a lesson for us all that true discipleship is for all people, not just for the most likely people.
ii. True Discipleship is more than just naming Christ.
1. Notice Matthew actually rose up and followed Jesus.
2. He didn’t just sit at the Tax booth and change his shirt to say, “I’m a Christian.”
3. Many people think that following Jesus mean wearing a t-shirt, or updating your Facebook status, or listening to K-Love.
4. Others think that being a disciple of Jesus means you name Christ. You speak of yourself as a “Christian.”
5. Hear me—just because someone claims Christ does NOT mean they are Christian.
6. Being a Christian the same as filling out your political party affiliation.
7. Millions of people are under a false sense of security that because they name Christ as their own that all is well.
8. They feel no real need to stop sitting at the Tax Booth.
9. They feel no real need to stop downloading porn.
10. They feel no sense of urgency to leave their old life behind.
11. They feel no real need to devote themselves to prayer.
12. They sense no real pressure to fellowship with God’s people or take the Lord’s Supper or get baptized.
13. The teachings of Jesus and the apostles are more like good ideas and suggestions, but not something that absolutely needs to be applied.
14. And so they name Christ and they never leave the tax booth.
iii. True Discipleship involves leaving some things behind.
1. Matthew left a lucrative lifestyle and career behind.
2. Matthew left the corruption and greed behind.
3. Titus 2 says that the “grace of God trains us to renounce ungodliness.”
4. Matthew experienced the grace of God, and it made him renounce his old life.
5. Kent Hughes tells the story… “When El Nino’s rain dominated Southern California one winter, mudslides became an issue, as well as a nightmare for one particular family. While the family was still in their house, a massive wave of mud tore through the home, severing it and sweeping their sleeping baby out into the night. The parents began to search through the middle of the night and in the darkness for their child. Tromping through the mud and the mire that had descended upon their whole neighborhood, they searched, dug, and called for their child throughout the long night—but nothing... When the morning came a rescuer, himself covered in mud, came to the parents with a mud-caked bundle in his arms—the baby filthy, but alive. You know what the mother did? She clung to her child despite its filth, washed the muck away, and determined to keep the child out of the mud in the future.”
6. What does this have to do with grace training us?
a. V. 14 says that He has redeemed us to be godly people of good works…
b. So why should we really care about good works, if good works are irrelevant when it comes to saving us and we are saved by grace?
7. BECAUSE, (says Kent Hughes) when the filth of my sin was sweeping me in my helplessness to eternal death, God covered Himself with the muck of this world to rescue me, embraced me, saved me.
8. It only makes sense that He would want me to stay out of the mud!
9. He doesn’t want us playing in the mud!
10. His grace changes me!
11. His grace trains me to renounce the filth, renounce the mud
12. “Biblical grace makes us intolerant of evil in our lives.” Hughes.
13. Grace doesn’t make room for MORE sin. It doesn’t makes sin more tolerable, it makes it LESS tolerable. It makes it repulsive.
14. It’s counterintuitive.
15. Part of living the Christian life is leaving some things behind.
a. The first step in living the Christian life is leaving and denying the old life.
b. “We are surrounded by a world that says, ‘no’ to nothing. When we are surrounded by this sort of mentality…then suddenly to be told that in the Christian life there is to be this strong negative aspect of saying ‘no’ to things and ‘no’ to self, it must seem hard. And if it does not feel hard to us, we are not really letting it speak to us…Of course, this environment of—of not saying no—fits exactly into our natural disposition, because, since the fall of man, we do not want to deny ourselves…” Francis Schaeffer.
16. This is a major hang up for people who ride the fence of Christianity.
a. They are unwilling to renounce certain things.
b. We need to renounce idols and the reject cultural diseases around us.
c. The things that need to be renounced may not even be inherently evil things, but they are part of your old life and they need to be renounced.
iv. True Discipleship involves a total life change.
1. True discipleship means a total change of life.
2. I’m always leery of a new profession of faith until I can see some changes happen.
3. Grace that doesn’t change a person’s life is a fraud.
4. Grace that’s doesn’t make a person stop doing certain things and start doing certain things is worthless and fake.
5. A grace that doesn’t cause change in people’s minds and lives is an imposter. A fraud, a fake imitation of grace. It’s not the real thing.
6. True grace will make a difference in a persons life. Period.
7. You might be sitting here thinking, “There really hasn’t been any change in my life since I became a Christian, I wonder if I’m actually a Christian?” And you would be perfectly right to ask that question.
8. The apostles beg people to ask that question, because the worst thing that could happen to you is to have a false sense of security that you are saved, when you are not.
9. Matthew’s example of a total life change is an example to us of what true discipleship is.
10. I am burdened today by a rise of nominal Christianity.
11. One of the blessings of the tsunami of secularism we see today is that it will weed out the fake Christians. The posers.
IV. Jesus Eats with Sinners (9:10-17).
a. After calling Matthew, Jesus reclined at a table. (9:10)
i. Mark and Luke mention that this is Matthew’s home they are in.
ii. Matthew apparently invites Jesus to his house and the have a meal together.
b. “Many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus.” (9:10)
i. He is eating with sinners.
ii. He is associating with sinners.
iii. Here is Jesus again with many folks of questionable character.
c. “And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (9:11)
i. The Pharisees see this and are appalled by this spectacle.
ii. Here is a teacher of the Law, and yet he clearly doesn’t understand the Law.
iii. “This is scandalous!”
d. “But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (9:12-13)
i. Here Jesus drives homes one of His main purposes in His ministry.
1. He came for sinners.
2. He’s a friend of sinners.
ii. “Those who are well have no need for a physician.”
1. When’s the last time you went to a Doctor when you felt perfectly well.
a. “Yea, I’m here to see the Doctor.”
b. “What will your appointment be about?”
c. “Nothing, I just wanted to see him….Just wanted to chit chat.”
iii. In other words, Jesus is saying, of course the sick flock to the doctor!
1. And of course, sinners flock to the Savior!
2. Doesn’t it all make perfect sense?
3. That’s why I am surrounded by sinners and Tax Collectors.
iv. He then rebukes the Pharisees and their lack of care or concern for the sinners.
1. He quotes Hos. 6:6, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’”
2. Hosea looks to the Lord’s people to show steadfast love and mercy as opposed to the rote religious motions of sacrificing a bull.
3. Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees for rejecting the outcasts instead of showing mercy to them.
4. The Pharisees are more interested in washing their hands than they are welcoming the outcasts and sinners. And Jesus rebukes them.
v. Jesus is ironically implying that the Pharisees are the ones who are sick.
1. The sinners and Tax Collectors know they are sick.
2. The Pharisees think they are fine.
vi. The simple truth: Don’t be self-deceived about your need for Jesus.
1. Jesus come along and claims to be God, does the works of God, and forgives sins, and some believe Him and some don’t.
a. The reason some believe Him is because they are sick.
b. The reason others don’t is because they are healthy.
2. OH! May God’s grace come to you and reveal your sickness!
3. May the Lord be gracious to you and show you your poverty!
4. May the Lord make you poor in spirit!
vii. These sinners and Tax Collectors had responded to Jesus
1. They realized they were sick. That’s why Jesus was precious to them.
2. They irony is that the Pharisees are sick, but they despise Jesus. Jesus is not precious to them.
3. Jesus will only be precious to you, if by God’s grace, you see that He is like a Physician and you are like a paralytic.
4. Otherwise, why would you come to Him?
5. God uses even our sin, to show us our need to Him.
V. Lessons about food and Jesus and the Kingdom.
a. #1- Eating around a table with sinners was perfectly appropriate for Jesus.
i. Right after this dinner party with the outcasts, John’s disciples came and asked Jesus about fasting. (9:14)
1. They are basically saying, “Our disciples are fasting, but your disciples are feasting, why?”
2. In New Testament times religious Jews fasted on Monday’s and Thursday’s, and maybe more for special occasions.
3. Fasting was seen as somewhat meritorious practice. People thought they could gain the favor of God by denying themselves food.
ii. Jesus returns the question with a question (9:15)
1. You don’t fast at a wedding. Fasting at a wedding isn’t only inappropriate, it’s impossible.
2. There are times to fast. Weddings are not the time or place to fast.
3. When I go to a wedding, I want to celebrate, I want to eat, I want to enjoy the celebration. I don’t want to fast. No one does that, especially Jews. You mourn at a funeral, not a wedding.
4. Jesus is saying that the Bridegroom of the wedding is among them.
a. What wedding? What feast?
i. The Marriage Supper.
ii. The Coming Kingdom. The Coming Feast, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
5. Not only does Jesus find Himself eating with sinners around the table, He describes His current presence as a celebration.
6. He says it would be unfitting for the disciples to fast when the Bridegroom (Himself) is among them.
7. The Kingdom of Heaven had come to earth in the Person of Jesus.
8. What Jesus says next is a little obscure for us today, because most of us don’t sew, and none of us use goat skins to store wine. We prefer glass bottles and cork.
iii. Jesus illustrates the metaphor further and talks about patches and wineskins (9:16-17).
1. You don’t patch your clothes with a brand new piece of fabric.
2. Everyone know that you don’t put new cloth on old cloth, otherwise you will ruin it. Once it shrinks, it will tear the old fabric apart.
3. The new cloth is unsuitable for the old cloth.
iv. The same is true with wineskins.
1. New wine that is fermenting, needs to be put in fresh wineskins.
2. If you put bubbly wine in old wine skins, it will crack and drain. It’s not suitable.
3. You need something new.
4. The new wine is unsuitable for the old wineskins.
v. In both of these illustrations Jesus is saying the same thing-- the kingdom Jesus is bringing is unsuitable for the religious Jews of the day.
1. Jesus is not bringing a revised or refreshed Judaism. This isn’t Judaism 2.0.
2. This is something brand new. He is not rejecting the Torah, He fulfils the Torah, but he is rejecting Judaism.
3. He is ushering in a New Covenant.
4. He isn’t negating the Old Testament, notice in verse 17, “and both are preserved.”
5. He isn’t cancelling the Old Testament, but He is brining something totally new.
vi. So to summarize this point, it is perfectly appropriate for Jesus and His disciples to feast instead of fast.
1. The party had begun.
2. The Kingdom of God had arrived in the Person of Jesus.
3. Pop the cork.
4. D.A. Carson calls this section on fasting, “The dawning of Messianic joy.”
5. It’s appropriate to be joyful around Jesus.
b. #2- Eating around a table with sinners illustrated His entire purpose of ministry.
i. There are three different ways that the Son of Man is described coming:
1. “The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
2. “The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10)
3. “The Son of Man came eating and drinking.” (Luke 7:34)
ii. The Son of Man came eating and drinking.
1. In the Gospel’s it’s almost as if Jesus is always eating.
2. He is either going to a meal, coming from meal, at a meal, or making a meal.
3. In Luke’s gospel this is seen most clearly:
a. Luke 5- Jesus is in Matthew’s home eating with sinners.
b. Luke 7- Jesus is anointed at the home of Simon over a meal.
c. Luke 9- Jesus feeds 5 thousand.
d. Luke 10- Jesus eats in the home of Martha and Mary
e. Luke 11- Jesus condemns the Phatisees and religious lawyers over a meal.
f. Luke 14- Jesus is eating a meal and telling others to invite the poor rather than their friends, to a meal.
g. Luke 19- Jesus invites himself to have a meal with Zacchaeus.
h. Luke 22- Jesus has a Passover Last Supper meal with His disciples.
i. Luke 24- The Resurrected Christ has a meal with two disciples, than makes a fish breakfast for some other disciples.
iii. Eating meals in Jesus’ day was a serious deal.
1. Meals were important.
2. Meals implied a deep unity and solidarity and friendship.
3. Think about it, you don’t eat meals with your enemies. You eat meals with your friends.
a. In fact the word companion is a word that comes from two different Latin words:
i. “cum” = “together”— “Pani” = “Bread”
ii. “Together around bread”
iii. Food connects people. It welcomes people. It creates solidarity.
iv. If you want to get to know someone—eat food with them.
iv. The ministry of Jesus is characterized by eating and drinking.
1. His evangelistic method was feasting over a long meal with outcasts.
2. To the point where His enemies accused Him of doing it to excess.
3. He was known for it.
4. There is something for us to learn here.
v. Why did Jesus do this?
1. He was deliberately making peace with sinners.
2. He was calling and fellowshipping and dining with sinners.
3. Matthew starts off his gospel describing Jesus as one who would “save His people from their sins.”
vi. This is a major lesson in Matthew.
1. Jesus came for sinners.
2. J.C. Ryle, “No one is too bad for Christ to call.”
3. Jesus hangs out with “sinners.”
a. “Sinner” meant anyone who didn’t care about the law. (Adulterer, murderer, tax collector)
b. Are you willing to eat with “sinners?”
vii. This is a major lesson in the Bible.
1. The example of Paul.
a. If Paul can be saved, anyone can be saved.
2. The call of Jesus is only relevant for the sick, for the sinners.
a. You need to be poor in spirit to appreciate Jesus.
b. The two groups of people in the bible.
i. The sick.
ii. The healthy.
1. The sin of “self-sufficiency” is the most incurable of all the sins, and the most dangerous.
3. The best prayer you can pray is, “Jesus I need you!”
c. #3- Eating around a table with sinners pointed to heaven.
i. Another reason Jesus eat with sinners is because it foreshadows the future Kingdom.
ii. These meals should be seen as a foretastes of the Millennial Kingdom.
iii. There is no question that these stories are purposely meant to foreshadow the Lambs Supper.
iv. Jesus describes heaven as a meal.
v. Mat. 8:11, “I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven…”
vi. The Kingdom of God is compared to a Great Banquet.
vii. I love Great Banquets!
viii. I love parties! Not in the High school debauchery sense, but in the joyful wedding sense.
ix. And that’s the metaphor Jesus uses to describe what’s about to happen!
x. So His eating and drinking was a theological pointer to the coming Kingdom.
d. #4- Eating around a table with sinners is what we do at the Lord’s Supper.
i. The Bible starts with a wedding and it ends with a wedding.
ii. The Bible starts with a meal and it ends with a meal.
iii. You could tell the story of the Bible by using meals.
1. The Passover leads to the Last Supper leads to the Lord’s Supper leads to the Lamb’s Supper.
iv. Jesus refers to Himself as a Bridegroom and refers to His Kingdom as a dinner party.
v. It only makes sense, then, that Jesus commands His Church, His Bride, to remember Him with a meal.
vi. The Lord’s Supper is jam-packed with meaning and significance.
vii. The Table speaks of peace.
1. The table is no longer an altar.
a. Stott. “The altar has been turned into a table.”
2. The table becomes a place of fellowship and communion with God and other believers.
3. Think about the table at your home.
a. It is most likely the place where discussions, updates, laughter, and communion take place.
b. THAT’s what Jesus invites us to!
viii. The Table speaks of celebration.
1. The Lord’s Supper is a victory meal.
a. The Passover meal was a celebration of God’s salvation that He gave to Israel from the slavery of Egypt.
b. The Passover was a meal, and Jesus is the Passover Lamb that God provided.
c. We celebrate God’s victory.
d. This supper is a foretaste of the heavenly banquet when Jesus pops the cork. The marriage supper of the Lamb. Jesus promises to not drink any wine until that day, when we are all together.
e. You think you will be happy then? With the Lord sitting on the throne, reigning, and ruling. You think that will be a little exciting? The Lord’s supper looks forward to that meal, and to that day.
f. We celebrate now, what we will celebrate for all eternity.
2. Wine itself speaks of celebration.
a. It could have been bread and water, but it was bread and wine.
b. Wine is not a drink of nutrition, it’s a drink of celebration.
3. Wine symbolized victory.
ix. The Table speaks of provision.
1. The table was symbolic or figurative of provision and plenty.
2. He provided in the OT.
a. God provided manna in the wilderness.
b. God fed the 5000…
c. His table speaks of His provision for us!
3. He has amply provided for us in His Son.
a. We are not fed rations.
b. He wasn’t cheap and He didn’t skimp.
c. He is our Provider and He provided everything we need for salvation.
d. He lavishly provided for our salvation.
i. God doesn’t just forgive, He justifies, He sanctifies, and He glorifies. He doesn’t do things half-way. He lavishly finishes the job.
ii. Eph. 1:3, “…who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”
iii. Blessing in the OT meant wealth, land, food, abundance.
iv. Blessing in the NT means spiritual wealth beyond comprehension in Christ Jesus for eternity.
v. Phil. 4:19 “My God shall supply all your needs, according to His riches and glory.”
x. The Table speaks of nourishment.
1. We need Jesus like we need food.
a. Food is an illustration of our dependence.
i. Eating is a powerful illustration.
ii. We regularly eat food.
iii. We can’t NOT eat.
iv. It’s enjoyable to eat.
v. Yet, God provides it.
vi. WE NEED GOD!
b. We are commanded to remember the Lord by eating food.
i. Food is necessary. It is needed. Our physical bodies need nourishment.
c. In the garden, God completely provided everything Adam and Eve needed.
i. Adam died by eating from the tree of life, we live by eating the fruit of the tree of death.
2. Jesus satisfies our deepest needs like food.
a. We feast ourselves on Christ.
b. He has provided everything we need.
c. We come and we satisfy ourselves Jesus Christ. Nothing else will do!
d. The table is where our physical and spiritual needs are met.
f. The Lord’s Supper speaks of spiritual nourishment.
i. Vine and the branch. (John 15)
ii. We feast on the sap of our Lord. As we abide in Him and feast on Him our souls are nourished. He is EXACTLY what we need.
iii. As our physical bodies are nourished by the food before us, we remember that our souls are nourished by the gospel of grace. The Person and Work of Christ.
3. In heaven we will eat food and know exactly Who provides everything.
a. He made the Table, He made the feast, He is Lord of the banquet, He provides everything we need. He is everything we need.
VI. The Gospel.
Illustration of grace:
- There's a wonderful story by Isak Dinesen called Babette's Feast, about a strict, dour, fundamentalist community in Denmark. Babette works as a cook for two elderly sisters who have no idea that she once was a chef to nobility back in her native France. Babette's dream is to return to her beloved home city of Paris, so every year she buys a lottery ticket in hopes of winning enough money to return. And every night her austere employers demand that she cook the same dreary meal: boiled fish and potatoes, because, they say, Jesus commanded, "Take no thought of food and drink."
- Furthermore, it is a community that has grown increasingly hostile towards one another. Bitter towards one another, gossip, greed, the deeds of the flesh were less and less restrained.
- One day the unbelievable happens: Babette wins the lottery! The prize is 10,000 francs, a small fortune. And because the anniversary of the founding of the community is approaching, Babette asks if she might prepare a French dinner with all the trimmings for the entire village.
- At first the townspeople refuse: "No, it would be sin to indulge in such rich food." But Babette begs them, and finally they relent, "As a favor to you, we will allow you to serve us this French dinner." But the people secretly vow not to enjoy the feast and instead to occupy their minds with spiritual things, believing God will not blame them for eating this sinful meal as long as they do not enjoy it.
- Babette begins her preparations. Caravans of exotic food arrive in the village, along with cages of quail and barrels of fine wine.
- Finally the big day comes, and the village gathers. The first course is an exquisite turtle soup. The diners force it down without enjoyment. But although they usually eat in silence, conversation begins to take off. Then comes the wine: Veuve Cliquot 1860, the finest vintage in France. And the atmosphere changes. Someone smiles. Someone else giggles. An arm comes up and drapes over a shoulder. Someone is heard to say, "After all, did not the Lord Jesus say, love one another?" By the time the main entrée of quail arrives, those austere, pleasure-fearing people are giggling and laughing and slurping and guffawing and praising God for their many years together. This pack of Pharisees is transformed into a loving community through the gift of a meal. One of the two sisters goes into the kitchen to thank Babette, saying, "Oh, how we will miss you when you return to Paris!" And Babette replies, "I will not be returning to Paris, because I have no money. I spent it all on the feast."
Our Lord has spared no cost on the feast. And as a result, Matthew shows Jesus forgiving, calling, and dining with sinners.
- Praise God from who all blessing flow.
- Illustration of grace:
BI: Jesus forgives, calls, and eats with sinner. He came for sinners, not the righteous.