And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said to his disciples…
We have in this narrative a beautiful illustration of the law of social intercourse in the Christian life, given by Christ, and which, therefore, may be regarded as of authority. We observe —
I. THAT THE MORALLY GOOD MUST ASSOCIATE WITH THE SOCIALLY DEPRAVED. "How is it that He eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?"
1. That the morally good may take part in the social festivals of the depraved, but not for the mere purpose of social enjoyment or intellectual companionship. Christ did not go to the house of Levi merely to enjoy a sumptuous banquet, or to participate in the festivities of unholy men.
2. The morally good may associate with the depraved in the commercial enterprise of life. The good must have dealings with the unholy in the commerce of the world. The tares and the wheat must grow together until the harvest.
3. The morally good are some. times brought into incidental companionship with the depraved.
II. THAT THE MORALLY GOOD IN COMPANIONSHIP WITH THE SOCIALLY DEPRAVED MUST BE ANIMATED BY REMEDIAL MOTIVES, AND MUST GIVE FORTH INFLUENCES ENNOBLING TO THE SOUL. "They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick."
1. The Christian must go into the company of the morally depraved with right views of their sad condition, and with an intense desire for their recovery.
2. The Christian can give forth healing influences to the morally depraved by kindly words, by gentle disposition, by judicious teaching, and by unpretentious example.Lessons:
1. That the morally good must go into the company of the socially depraved.
2. That the morally good are the physicians of the race; they must be careful not to take the infection of sin, and to exercise judiciously their healing art.
3. That society will best be regenerated by individual effort.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?