Eats with sinners (Lk 15:2-15:2)

“Both the Pharisees

And the Scribes

Were grumbling.

They said.

‘This Jesus fellow

Welcomes sinners.

He eats with them.’”

 

καὶ διεγόγγυζον οἵ τε Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς λέγοντες ὅτι Οὗτος ἁμαρτωλοὺς προσδέχεται καὶ συνεσθίει αὐτοῖς

 

Luke uniquely talked about Jesus and his coziness with sinners that upset the Pharisees and the Scribes.  Luke said that both the Pharisees (οἵ τε Φαρισαῖοι) and the Scribes (καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς) were grumbling (καὶ διεγόγγυζον), saying (λέγοντες), that this fellow, Jesus, welcomes sinners (ὅτι Οὗτος ἁμαρτωλοὺς προσδέχεται) and eats with them (καὶ συνεσθίει αὐτοῖς).  Eating with sinners and tax collectors was a form of fellowship.  Perhaps the Pharisees and Scribes were correct in indicating that Jesus was approving their lifestyle.  He was giving tacit acceptance to these sinners and their deeds, scandalizing the people of Israel.  Listening to sinners was one thing.  Eating with them was another thing.  Would you welcome and eat with a public sinner?

Inclusive Model of Salvation

The inclusive model holds that Jesus Christ is the normative expression of God’s will for all people.  The problem is that many people have never known Christ.  What role has the God of love for them?  Is Christian faith offered to everyone?  Some Christians believe in predestination so that only a few are chosen.  Christianity has always been missionary, sometimes overly zealous, as in the Crusades and the Inquisition.  What about those who have never heard of Jesus Christ?  The Catholic Council of Trent (1545-1563) in the 16th century talked about a baptism of desire.  You will be saved by Jesus without knowing him.  Salvation is fully found in Jesus, but offered to everyone in all genuine religions who live the good life, who sincerely seek God, moved by grace, and strive by their deeds to do his will as they know it.  Sometimes we call them like Karl Rahner (1904-1984) “anonymous Christians.”

The day of Yahweh (Ob 1:15-1:15)

“The day of Yahweh

Is near

Against all the nations.

As you have done,

It shall be done

To you.

Your deeds

Shall return

On your own head.”

Obadiah warned that the day of Yahweh, as in the prophet Amos, was coming to all the countries, since it was near.  As they have done, so it shall be done to them, since their deeds would return to their own head.

The coastal lands would be held responsible (Joel 3:4-3:4)

“What are you to me?

O Tyre!

O Sidon!

All the regions

Of Philistia!

Are you paying me back

For something?

If you are paying me back,

I will turn your deeds back

Upon your own heads,

Swiftly,

As well as speedily.”

It is obvious from this passage that Yahweh and Joel were referring to the neighbors of Jerusalem, the coast cities of Tyre and Sidon as well as the coastal Philistine cities, not the whole world. How could they pay back what they had done? Yahweh was going to turn their deeds back on them in a swift speedy way.

The prostitute spirit In Ephraim (Hos 5:3-5:4)

“I know Ephraim!

Israel is not hidden

From me.

For now,

O Ephraim!

You have played

The prostitute.

Israel is defiled.

Their deeds

Do not permit them

To return

To their God.

The spirit of prostitution

Is within them.

They do not know

Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, is particularly hard on the tribe of Ephraim, which was just north of Benjamin, with the capital of the northern Israelite kingdom there. Israel could not hide from Yahweh. Ephraim had played the prostitute role. Thus, Israel had defiled itself. By their deeds, they could not return to God. The spirit of prostitution had overtaken them. They no longer knew Yahweh. They had abandoned him.

The reasons for the scattered Israelites (Ezek 36:16-36:19)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

When the house

Of Israel

Lived

On their own soil,

They defiled it

With their ways,

With their doings.

Their conduct was,

In my sight,

Like the uncleanness

Of a woman

In her menstrual period.

Thus,

I poured out my wrath

Upon them

For the blood

That they had shed

Upon the land.

I poured out my wrath

Upon them

For the idols

With which

They had defiled it.

I scattered them

Among the nations.

They were dispersed

Through the countries.

I judged them

In accordance

With their conduct.

I judged them

In accordance

With their deeds.’”

Once again, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man, but without a specific date. Yahweh said that when the house of Israel lived on their own soil, they defiled it with how they acted. They were unclean, like the uncleanness of the menstrual female, who was considered to be unclean at the time of her period. They had shed blood throughout the land. They had worshipped idols, thus defiling the land. Yahweh then poured out his wrath and scattered them among the various nations. Thus, they were dispersed throughout the different countries. Yahweh judged them according to their conduct and their deeds.

Yahweh will do what he says (Ezek 24:14-24:14)

“‘I!

Yahweh!

Have spoken!

The time is coming!

I will act!

I will not refrain!

I will not spare!

I will not relent!

According to your ways,

According to your doings,

I will judge you.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, has spoken. The time for action was coming. He was not going to hold back, spare anyone, or relent. Each one would be judged according to their deeds. Yahweh was clear that there were no favorites.