“When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”” Matthew 9:11.
One of the main criticisms that the Pharisees had about Christ dealt with His willingness to approach and accept the outsider. The Pharisees, the ultra-religious, ultra-conservative sect of the day, cared more about their own self-righteousness than they did about caring for others. Though they were the Mosaic legal scholars of the day, they seldom seem to discuss the portions of the Torah that call for man to take care of the strangers and to be lights to the sinners. Their disregard for social justice was as damning as their hypocrisy and self-righteousness. In their minds, the Messiah would be like them, demanding all be obsessed with keeping the law and focusing on self-righteousness. Thankfully, this is not what Christ was about.
Christ responded to this criticism by saying He “came for those who need a doctor…not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Christ came for those who had been rejected by the establishment; those who had been forgotten. The religious establishment of the day didn’t want to minister to these sinners, but Christ did. The Pharisees failed to see their own sin because they were too preoccupied with pointing out everyone else’s. Christ doesn’t want an army of self-righteous hypocrites; Christ desires those who are humble enough to confess their sin and seek His undeserved forgiveness.
The 21st Century American Church, as fractured and variant as one can imagine, is no different than Judaism in the 1st Century AD. There are many who, just like the Pharisees, are ready and willing to call out the sins of others while disregarding their own. At many times we become so obsessed with the speck in our brothers’ eye that we forget the log in our own. That’s the problem with self-righteousness: you become the measuring rod and judge, not Christ.
When we stop and consider all this, we can’t help but ponder this question: if Christ came today, would we oppose Him just as the Pharisees did? And more alarmingly, would He be just as ticked off with us as He was with them?