Mark 2: 13-17 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
What if they were right? The Pharisees, I mean. After all, my parents sometimes warned me, when I was a child, not to play with certain kids because they could be a bad influence on me. And if they knew half the truth…… "It only takes one bad apple…."
But there was more than the question of bad influence involved. There were also possibilities and fears of uncleanness. And one other thing that probably drove them up a wall and over a cliff that has to do with the Temple, sacrifices and who controls the flow of grace and forgiveness. For more of what is at the heart of this conflict, check out last Sunday's message at Download welcome_and_warning.doc.