Progressive ‘Christians’ love to make a big deal of the fact that Jesus ate with sinners, much to the chagrin of the Pharisees. At first glance, this doesn’t seem like a problem, because it is a big deal that God Himself would condescend to eat with sinners, but as with anything progressives do, there is an insidious motive behind it. The way progressives teach it, Jesus ate with sinners to make them comfortable and affirm them just as they were, that is, still in their sins. Sinners were, supposedly, comfortable around Jesus because He was welcoming and non-judgemental. In short, they teach that Jesus ate with sinners because He was fine with their sins. They don’t say it in so many words, of course. They talk about how Jesus supposedly showed solidarity with ‘outcasts’, leaving out the fact that He explained exactly why He was eating with sinners. The reason they do this is because, as they always have, they’re trying to corrupt the church by ushering in their pet sins, and letting Jesus speak for Himself would mess that up.
One of the texts they like to twist is Matthew 9:10-13:
10 Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and began dining with Jesus and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Now go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, rather than sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Progressives usually stop at verse 11, and make a big deal about how sinners were supposedly comfortable coming to Jesus, even though it doesn’t actually say that in the text. You could just as easily, if not more easily, say that they came despite their discomfort because they wanted forgiveness for their sins. This interpretation certainly fits with Jesus’ stated mission. He says that He came to call sinners. His message to them was the same message He had for everyone, since the beginning of His ministry in Matthew 4:17: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is the message that He had for the tax collectors and sinners that He ate with; not that He stood in solidarity with outcasts, not that their sins were no big deal, but that they must repent.
The Pharisees took issue with this, not because they were devoted to God’s law, but because they had replaced God’s law with their own extra commandments, and loved power, prestige, and the accolades of men instead of loving God. Jesus’ eating with sinners because He wanted to bring them the Gospel out of compassion would have been alien to the Pharisees’ minds, because they only had ‘compassion’ on people where it would benefit themselves. The Pharisees didn’t like Jesus eating with sinners because, in their minds, it cast the role of Rabbi in a bad light in the eyes of the rich and powerful. Since they were also Rabbis this would, by extension, damage their standing in the eyes of the social elites.
This mindset is, ironically, quite similar to that of progressives. The groups they always bring up as the kind Jesus would supposedly affirm are the ones that are preferred by leftist authoritarians and the mainstream media, the very people they want to please. It’s easy for them to picture Jesus eating with BLM looters, homosexuals, or never-married single mothers, but it never crosses their minds that He might also eat with policemen, hedge fund managers, or (gasp) Trump voters. They have no problem with a Jesus who would eat with publicans, but a Jesus who would eat with Republicans? Let the pearl-clutching commence. They would certainly never mention the possibility of Jesus eating with Klansmen, even though He “did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Why do they do this? Quite simply, to use Jesus as a tool of identity politics; associating Him with their preferred groups to make them look righteous and browbeat political rivals for supposedly being like the Pharisees, while assuring their own side of their moral superiority. To progressive ‘Christians’ Jesus is not the Lord to whom they must submit, rather He is a stand-in for The Right Side Of History, onto whom they can project whatever beliefs and attitudes make them feel warm and cuddly, and make them acceptable to the elites in our society. The Jesus they believe in would never tell them to repent, because they are the nice people; they are on The Right Side Of History. What they really want to do is to make culturally favored sins respectable, so that they can have standing in the eyes of the rich and powerful, and win the respect, or at least acceptance, of the Left.
For all that they tout compassion, progressive ‘Christians’ lack the compassion that Jesus showed by bringing the Gospel to sinners over a meal. Rather, progressives would hide the Gospel and preach acceptance of sins to win the approval of the powerful in society; the most uncompassionate thing they could do. Unfortunately for them, it is as Jesus said in Matthew 6:2: “Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.”
Like what you read? Leave a comment or share with your friends! (Or both. You can do both.)