Feasting With Sinners


Eating with those hard-partying neighbors next door—not me; I am too righteous to do that! You might not have spoken these words, but maybe you have thought them in judging a situation from the outside and forgetting that God looks at the hearts of people. God often leads believers to minister to people who need repentance and love in a different way than you would, and it makes you feel uncomfortable. Today, we will read about a dinner with sinners and Jesus in their midst.

  • What do you think about when you see your neighbors hosting a loud, boisterous, alcohol-fueled party?


27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.

29 And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. From the passage, what can you tell about how the Pharisees viewed tax collectors? Again, Jesus said, “Follow me,” this time to Levi. What was Levi’s response? What did he leave behind?
  2. Levi’s next recorded action was to throw a feast. Who was invited? Who stood outside and questioned Jesus’ actions?
  3. Who did Jesus say he was calling to repentance?
  4. Why do you find it hard to look with a heart of love on the lost and the outcasts in your community? What changes in your attitude might you need to make to see more like Jesus sees?


Eating and drinking with people was and is a sign of friendship and fellowship. Jesus chose to spend time with tax collectors and sinners rather than courting the religious leaders of his time. He saw the immense need in their hearts to know him and to come to repentance. He knew the eternal benefit of sharing himself with those in need of repentance and salvation and was showing the Pharisees his priority was those who needed help, not those who thought themselves to be righteous.

  • Ask God to reveal any attitudes that you need to confess and seek a change in your heart toward those who do not know God.