Here it is....comments encouraged.
Matthew 9: 10-13. “Doctor, Doctor, Give me the News”
In three verses there sure is a lot to talk about. These words of Jesus are powerful, but once you begin to grasp the historical and political contexts, the message of Christ is all the more scandalous. I’m going to explore the historical context first, then, I’ll bring us right up to today. I hope you don’t get too bored, but I plan to show you how people really haven’t changed in 2,000 years, how we’re still fighting the same fights, and that Jesus words are still as true today as they were when they left is lips. So here we go.
1. Setting the Scene/The What
Matthew’s gospel informs us that Jesus was sitting and eating dinner with other guests. Some translations use the word “reclining”. (interpreters bible, New American Standard Bible) That word reclining gives us a bit of a different picture- Jesus wasn’t having a power lunch, he and his disciples were guests- he was hanging out. And with whom? Tax-collectors and sinners. Today, the IRS isn’t a very popular institution and taxes really don’t make much sense to me, but at least they’re under the guise of honesty. In Jesus’ context, tax-collectors were some of the most hated people on the planet. Here in the Roman system, called “tax-farming”, rights to tax over a certain area were leased out to individuals who could afford it for a flat fee. Local aristocrats who obtained the rights would then try to collect more than the fee in order to profit by the arrangement, with an obvious potential for abuse. (New Oxford Annotated Bible) The actual TAX-COLLECTORS were sort of like underlings who were faced with lots of pressure to bring in as much money as possible and were thus despised by the populace. These are the people Jesus kept company with, verse 10: “And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting (reclining) with him and his disciples”