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?

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A prophet and the righteous one (Mt 10:41-10:41)

“Whoever welcomes

A prophet

In the name of a prophet

Will receive

A prophet’s reward.

Whoever welcomes a righteous man

In the name of a righteous man

Will receive

The reward of a righteous man.”

 

ὁ δεχόμενος προφήτην εἰς ὄνομα προφήτου μισθὸν προφήτου λήμψεται, καὶ ὁ δεχόμενος δίκαιον εἰς ὄνομα δικαίου μισθὸν δικαίου λήμψεται.

 

There does not seem to be a parallel verse to this saying of Jesus, via Matthew.  It seems like an extension or explanation of the preceding verse.  If you accept or welcome a prophet (ὁ δεχόμενος προφήτην) in that prophet’s name (εἰς ὄνομα προφήτου), then you would get a prophet’s reward (μισθὸν προφήτου λήμψεται).  If you accept a righteous man (καὶ ὁ δεχόμενος δίκαιον), in the name of a righteous man (εἰς ὄνομα δικαίου), then you would receive a righteous reward (μισθὸν δικαίου λήμψεται).  These prophets and righteous men will be the new disciples of Jesus.  Clearly Jesus emphasized the role of righteousness among his followers.  Jesus was incorporating the idea of prophetic justice or prophetic righteousness into his followers, who would not be afraid of his name.

Receive Jesus (Mt 10:40-10:40)

“Whoever welcomes you,

Welcomes me.

Whoever welcomes me,

Welcomes the one

Who sent me.”

 

Ὁ δεχόμενος ὑμᾶς ἐμὲ δέχεται, καὶ ὁ ἐμὲ δεχόμενος δέχεται τὸν ἀποστείλαντά με.

 

This verse of Matthew is similar to Luke, chapters 9:48 and 10:16, Mark, chapter 9:37, and John 12:44.  Quite often the idea is associated with accepting children.  Here it is Jesus himself.  Whoever accepts, welcomes, or receives his followers or disciples (Ὁ δεχόμενος ὑμᾶς), then they would be accepting Jesus (ἐμὲ δέχεται).  Furthermore, if they are welcoming Jesus (καὶ ὁ ἐμὲ δεχόμενος), then they are receiving, accepting, and welcoming the one who sent Jesus (δέχεται τὸν ἀποστείλαντά με), the Father.  There is a clear connection between God, the Father, Jesus, and his followers.  Accepting one means accepting all.

What is better? (Sir 40:21-40:25)

“The flute makes

A sweet melody.

The harp makes

A sweet melody,

But a pleasant voice is

Better than either.

The eye desires grace.

The eye desires beauty.

But the eye desires

Green shoots of grain

More than either.

A friend is always welcome

A companion is always welcome.

But a sensible wife is

Better than either.

Kindred are for a time of trouble.

Helpers are for a time of trouble.

But almsgiving rescues

Better than either.

Gold makes one stand firm.

Silver makes one stand firm.

But good counsel is

Esteemed more than either.”

Sirach continues with his questions about what is better. However, here the answer is not wisdom. While wine and music gladden the heart, the love of friends is actually better for a happy heart. While the flute and the harp make sweet melodies, a pleasant singing voice is sweeter than both. While the eye desires grace and beauty, the eye, especially of a farmer, prefers to see the green sprouts of grain in the fields. Everyone welcomes a friend or companion in their house, but a sensible wife in the house is much better. In troubled times, family members and helpers can be supportive, but actually almsgiving helps you better than both family and friends. While gold and silver can help you stand firm, good counsel is better than both gold and silver.