Sermon for 06.11.23 “Eating at the table with Jesus”

Pentecost 2 (Proper 5), June 11, 2023
Text: Matthew 9:9–13
Theme: Eating at the table with Jesus
Other Lessons: Hosea 5:15–6:6; Psalm 119:65–72; Romans 4:13–25

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The Gospel lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.
C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Psalm 119:65–72 (NASB95)
65You have dealt well with Your servant, O LORD, according to Your word.
66Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Your
67Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.
68You are good and do good; Teach me Your statutes.
69The arrogant have forged a lie against me; With all my heart I will
observe Your precepts.
70Their heart is covered with fat, But I delight in Your law.
71It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.
72The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of gold and silver
pieces. Amen.


A. I want you to think back to when you were a young kid and you and your
family gathered around the dining room table for a big meal, whether it was
Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter.
1. The adults got to sit at the “big” table.
2. You, on the other hand, got to sit at the “little” table, as known as
the “kids table” and it was set off to the side, away from the big table.
3. Sitting at the kids table is like…
a) you were being banished
1. what did I do to deserve this?
b) you were a person, but not old enough to sit with the adults.
1. You had not yet earned the right to eat with the adults nor did you
deserve to be there.
B. In a sense, Matthew is sitting at the “kids” table not eating food but
instead collecting taxes.
1. Matthew is not well liked.
2. He could be overcharging people on their taxes.
3. He could be taking advantage of his countrymen.
4. He’s working for the hated Roman government collecting these taxes.
5. He has compromised himself by cooperating with them.
C. Along comes Jesus and He says, “Follow me.”
1. Amazingly, Matthew packs up his things to follow Jesus.
2. They end up at Matthew’s house, having a meal.
3. Along the way, Matthew has invited other tax collectors and “sinners.”
4. They’re having something to eat with Jesus.
5. However, the Pharisees stand off to the side, complaining, “Why does he
eat with sinners?”
D. Jesus’ answer?
1. It is the sick who need a doctor, not the healthy.
2. He says he wants mercy shown, not mere religious ceremonies.

1. Who shouldn’t be eating with Jesus? The answer: We shouldn’t be.
A. So who is eating with Jesus?
1. Who would be under this umbrella term “sinners”?
B. The tax collectors are there.
1. What sin had they committed?
A. We could call it greed.
B. It could be they held onto money too tightly or money had too tight a
hold on them.
C. Their lives revolved around getting and keeping money, then buying stuff.
C. But who else is at the table?
1. You and I are at the table as well.
A. We’ve all seen how the rapidly rising inflation cuts into your income.
B. You know the damage the rising gas prices have done to your budget.
C. The volatility of the stock market makes you worry about investments or
retirement accounts.
D. Money isn’t going as far as it once did.
E. Your anxiety grows.
F. “Am I going to have enough?”
G. When your mind goes there, you begin to hold on to the money too tightly
or it takes hold of you ever more tightly.
2. So when our Lord calls for giving, generosity, and taking care of
others, we end up mostly taking care of ourselves.
A. It ought to remind us of what Paul says in Romans:
Romans 3:23 (NASB95)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
B. Who shouldn’t be eating with Jesus? We shouldn’t be.
D. Another group that gets lumped under the word “sinners” is prostitutes.
1. Now, we know that this sin involves selling one’s body for money or
acceptance or drugs or whatever.
2. But more is going on with this than just sexual immorality.
3. Underneath prostitution, you find the loss of the sanctity of sexuality
and nudity instead of where it is to be properly expressed in the marital
4. Sex sells and buys instead of being a sacred gift for a husband and wife.
E. Do we fall under this umbrella of sinners too?
1. Perhaps not as prostitutes, but we live at a time when sexuality and
nudity are exploited, exposed, and explicit for us to see every day of our
2. How difficult it is to keep:
A. our desires,
B. our urges,
C. our eyes,
D. our minds,
E. and our hearts pure.
3. We are led to dress a certain way, to look a certain way.
4. Sites on a computer invite us to click on a link that will show us a
movie star wearing a slinky red dress or see-through top.
5. Movies routinely show couples in various stages of nudity and sexual
6. Television shows and commercials tempt viewers to keep on looking, even
fantasizing, about what counts as beauty and what we should look for or how
to act to get satisfaction.
7. We are bombarded with these:
A. images,
B. pictures,
C. seductions,
D. expectations throughout the day,
8. And they in turn infect
A. our desires,
B. our urges,
C. our thoughts,
D. our actions.
E. We, too, are sinners. Paul says:
F. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
9. Who shouldn’t be eating with Jesus?
A. We shouldn’t be.
F. What other sinners are at the table with Jesus?
1. Those who can’t keep the Law with their mouths like they should—or won’t
keep the Law.
2. Imagine the language used by some of these people at the table with
A. Filthy words.
B. Coarse talk.
C. Profanity.
G. It is no different today.
1. Same kind of foul language flows into our ears and perhaps out of our
2. What do we say in anger when we lose our temper?
3. How quickly we lash out with:
A. mean words,
B. hateful words,
C. words that God never wants us to speak.
4. Hurtful words that appear on Facebook or some other social media about a
politician, someone who is different from us, someone who riles us up.
5. Paul says:
A. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
6. Who shouldn’t be eating with Jesus? We shouldn’t be.
H. What about other sinners?
1. Those who worry too much.
2. Those filled with anxiety about what’s going on.
3. The war in the Ukraine.
A. And the idea that we as a country are the ones to blame!
4. Streets that aren’t safe.
5. Cars being broken into.
6. Not enough police.
7. Afraid of what will happen in a parking lot.
I. Our Lord calls for us to trust, but we are so deep into worry that:
1. we fail to pray,
2. we fail to seek peace in his promises despite the dangers we live with
every day.
3. Paul says:
A. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
4. Who shouldn’t be eating with Jesus?
A. We shouldn’t be.
J. Then look over there.
1. The Pharisees are standing off to the side, feeling pretty good about
themselves rather than those lousy sinners and tax collectors.
2. They are looking down at those who are eating with Jesus.
A. A condescending attitude leads to comparing themselves to those people
at the table.
K. That’s a temptation too.
1. The homeless man or woman sleeping out on the front porch.
2. The woman holding a sign at the busy intersection.
3. The awkward co-worker or student who is just not “right”.
4. The public figure who made a mistake and is now being forced to resign.
5. Someone from a different race or nationality.
6. We:
A. too easily judge,
B. too easily stand off to the side like the Pharisees,
C. too easily compare ourselves with them to make us feel better about
7. A pearl of great wisdom:
A. “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all”
8. Paul says:
A. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
9. Who shouldn’t be eating with Jesus?
A. We shouldn’t be.
L. The Disney movie Encanto has a scene in it that touches the heart.
1. The movie’s characters include a matriarch, children, and grandchildren.
2. Mirabel is the young girl who saves a magical house.
3. But one family member doesn’t live with the family.
4. That family member is Bruno and he lives behind the walls of the house.
5. He has a special gift, but a troubling one.
6. He has a vision of what is to happen, and the vision seems dark,
7. So he withdraws from the family.
8. The rest of the family won’t talk about Bruno or even talk with him.
9. Yet he can see through a crack in the wall into the family dining room.
10. He can listen to the family laughing and eating together on nice plates
with good food.
11. They are at the table, but he is not.
12. Except, behind the wall, he’s made a little wood table for himself with
a chalk circle for a plate.
13. Under the plate, he has written his name, “Bruno.”
14. That image of Bruno eating by himself, walled off from his family,
looking in from the outside, can break your heart.
M. Sitting at the “kids” table.
1. That’s where I should sit.
2. That’s where you should sit.
3. Not at the adult table with Jesus.
4. Not eating with him.
5. We should be on the outside looking in.
2. Yet Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them.
A. Yes, Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them!
1. He has invited us to eat with him!
B. Now eating at Matthew’s house in our text wasn’t like eating at the food
court at a mall, where you’re with your family but you don’t know anyone
1. The tables there are separated from one another, and you walk out after
a quick meal without interacting with anybody around.
2. This is also not like a formal meal, like a wedding reception, where
people are seated by how important they are or whether they are special
3. You may have a polite conversation, but where you get to sit tells
everyone who you are.
C. No, this meal is one that brings people together.
1. The tax collectors probably knew one another, and possibly the other
sinners did too.
2. Good food was had, but also laughter and hearty conversation.
3. This table didn’t reserve spots for those more important, nor did it
leave out those who didn’t fit in.
4. Everyone was welcome.
5. Anyone could sit at this table with Jesus with equal need and equal
6. When Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them, everything changes.
7. The table becomes a place of warm fellowship, where no one is better or
worse, and the invitation includes everyone.
D. Something else has happened at Matthew’s house.
1. It may be Matthew’s table.
2. He may have invited the tax collectors and sinners to be there.
3. But he is not at the head of the table.
4. Jesus is.
5. Jesus has become the host.
6. He is the one everyone defers to.
7. He speaks, and everyone else listens.
8. The Pharisees do not accuse Matthew of anything.
9. Instead, they question what Jesus is doing at this table.
10. And Jesus has taken charge.
11. He has welcomed sinners to sit at the table and eat with him.
E. Why has Jesus done this?
1. Why is this welcome to the sinners?
2. They need him, of course.
3. They need Him for His mercy.
4. He desires mercy from the people, not mere religious going through the
5. Yet he also knows that mercy needs to come first from Him if there is to
be mercy shown by his people.
6. And His mercy flows freely from His sacrifice of Himself.
F. Earlier in the sermon I repeated a number of times the apostle Paul’s
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
G. The sentence doesn’t stop there.
H. Paul goes on to say:
Romans 3:24 (NASB95)
being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in
Christ Jesus.
I. Think about another meal Jesus hosted.
1. This one happened on the night he was betrayed, when he was eating with
his closest disciples.
2. Even though he knew:
A. Judas would betray him,
B. Peter would deny him,
C. and the rest would run away,
D. he still welcomed them to the table.
3. He ate with them.
4. They were sinners just like you and me.
J. Then He heads to the table of the cross.
1. He is at the lonely table off to the side of Jerusalem.
2. He is abandoned.
3. Left alone.
4. He is sitting on the outside looking in at Jerusalem, the Holy City.
5. What is he doing there?
6. He is showing mercy by sacrificing Himself.
7. All the sinful flesh has to offer:
A. the greed,
B. the lust,
C. the fear,
D. the anger,
E. the worry,
F. the condescension,
G. all of it!
1. He has taken it on Himself.
2. Out of this sacrifice comes the mercy of His forgiveness.
3. Like the good physician who knows just what the sick need, Jesus
welcomes us in His merciful forgiveness.
K. Three days later, He rises from the dead.
1. Some days later, he has another meal.
2. Peter, John, James, Nathanael, Thomas, and a couple other disciples
decide to go fishing.
3. They don’t catch anything.
4. From the shore, Jesus calls out to them and tells them to throw their
nets on the right side of the boat.
5. Whoa! 153 large fish in the nets.
6. John says:
A. “It’s the Lord.”
7. Peter plunges into the water and sloshes as fast as he can go to the
shore to be with Jesus.
8. When everyone else is out of the boat, what is waiting for them?
9. A meal.
10. Breakfast is served.
11. When the meal is over, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him.
A. Three times Peter had denied him.
B. Three times he needed to hear Jesus restore him.
C. He is welcomed back into the family, back to the table of Christ’s mercy
for all eternity.
L. Who is eating with Jesus?
1. Sinners.
2. Sinners like you and me.
3. All because Jesus is at the head of the table.
4. All because He is the host.
5. All of us are included.
6. All of us are welcome.
7. All of us are forgiven.
M. What table is being talked about here?
1. It’s this table, the altar.
2. When you approach this altar, what do you hear me tell you?
A. Welcome to the Lord’s Table!
3. Here Jesus is the host. not us.
4. Here Jesus welcomes us with His very body and blood given and shed on
the cross for our forgiveness, life, and salvation.
5. Here we receive the risen Christ, who welcomes us once again.
6. We receive mercy from him.
N. We leave from this table, following Him.
1. We leave from this table and what happens?:
A. that greed becomes more and more a spirit of generosity and giving.
B. the lust and desires become more and more a commitment for that gift of
sexuality to be kept sacred in the marital relationship.
C. the worry and fear become more and more a peace that surpasses all
D. the anger becomes more and more patience and compassion, using our words
to encourage (that is, to bring courage to) someone.
E. we more and more respect another person no matter what his or her place
or status is in life.
F. and follow Jesus by showing mercy not just on Sunday or when we find it
convenient, but on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and
A. Back to the movie Encanto.
1. Near the end of the movie, Bruno has helped Mirabel see what she needs
to do to save the family.
2. But the magical house still collapses.
3. All seems to be lost until Mirabel brings reconciliation with the
family’s matriarch.
4. The house is rebuilt, with the help of people from a nearby town.
5. Mirabel inserts a special doorknob that brings the house back to life
6. Even more important, Bruno is welcomed back into the family.
7. The whole family gathers together for a picture.
8. Everyone is smiling, and right in the center of that picture is Bruno.
9. He is no longer an outcast, behind the walls, left out.
10. Imagine, after the picture is taken, this family going into the house
and having a big meal together.
11. Bruno has his place with everyone.
12. You hear laughter and warm conversation as good food is eaten.
13. Love flows freely around that table, as we hear in verse 10 of our text
for this morning:
Matthew 9:10 (NASB95)
Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house,
behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and
His disciples.
B. Picture that moment here today.
1. Brothers and sisters in Christ, Gathering Together at This Table:
A. in Joy,
B. in Closeness,
C. in Love,
D. in Forgiveness
E. Why? All because of Jesus’ Sacrifice and Mercy.
2. Remember, Jesus is the host, and he says to you:
A. “Welcome to my table.” Amen.
C. Let us pray:
Lord, teach us to love Your Word. Show us Your steadfast mercy in every
verse. Give us the faith to believe that all You have said is true and that
all Your promises will be fulfilled in Christ. Let us seek You with our
whole heart and find You in Your Word. Amen.
D. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
E. In the Name of the Father…Amen.