SERIES: Jesus at the Table
Week #1- Jesus and the Tax Collector: Who’s at the Table?
Matthew 9:9-13

This weekend begins a brand-new series called Jesus at the Table. All throughout the gospels, we
see stories of Jesus sharing meals with others. Jesus used his time at the table to engage with
people and even teach some important lessons. Over the next four weeks we are going to look at
lessons we can learn from some of these different accounts. We will see that it’s not only what
Jesus did and said at the table that we need to learn from, but it’s also looking at on who was at
the table with Him.
Let’s begin by taking a closer look at two connected events that reveal more to us about the heart
of Jesus when it comes to who’s at the table.

A. Matthew 9:9 ESV “ 9  As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at
the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.”
B. Matthew was a tax collector. He was a Jewish man who worked for the Roman government
to tax the locals and those traveling through. He made money through the common practice
of his day of overcharging the people and taking a commission.
C. He would be considered a thief, traitor, “unclean” by religious leader and was not well liked.
D. Jesus chooses an unlikely candidate to be a disciple – one that many would not have
expected a Jewish Rabbi to choose.
E. But we see that Jesus often does not do things the way some might expect.

JESUS AT THE TABLE (Matthew 9:10-13)

  1. Matthew throws a dinner for his friends and co-workers to meet Jesus.
  2. Jesus sits at the table with a group of “tax collectors and sinners.”
  3. The Pharisees have a problem with Jesus being there and who was with him. They, the
    religious leaders, avoid those who are “tax collectors and sinners” but Jesus welcomes
  4. The Pharisees question the disciples – and Jesus enters the conversation.
  5. His answer declares His focus, priority, and mission – “For I came not to call the
    righteous, but sinners.”

A. Pharisees see the problem. Jesus sees the person.

  1. The Pharisees defined the group by their problem – what they saw as wrong with them.
  2. Jesus saw the person – he saw that these people were made in the image of God,
    loved deeply, and in need of a Savior.
    B. Pharisees focus on the past and present. Jesus sees the potential.
  3. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old
    has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
    C. Pharisees see people to avoid. Jesus sees people to pursue.
  4. Luke 19:10 ESV “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
    D. Pharisees look to condemn. Jesus looks to love and forgive.
    E. Pharisees hinder the way. Jesus makes a way.
  5. Matthew 23:4 ESV “ 4  They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, [a]  and lay them on
    people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.”
  6. Matthew 11:29-30 ESV “ 29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle
    and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30  For my yoke is easy, and my
    burden is light.”
    A. You are invited to Jesus’ table.
  7. Everyone is invited and welcome at the table with Jesus.
  8. John 3:16-17 ESV “ 16  “For God so loved the world, [a]  that he gave his only Son, that
    whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  17  For God did not send
    his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved
    through him.”
  9. Romans 5:8 ESV “ 8  …but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners,
    Christ died for us.”
    B. Who is invited to your table?
  10. We need to be people who are willing to sit at a table with people like Jesus did.
  11. Does your guest list look more like a party thrown by Jesus or the Pharisees?
    C. Who is invited to our table?
  12. Who is invited to “our” (Bay Area Church’s) table? Are we ready to welcome people as
    they are, love them unconditionally, receive them into our community and point them to
    Jesus through how we love?
  13. Are we ready to sit at the table with the same people Jesus did?

A. Have you accepted Jesus’ invitation to sit at the table with Him?

B. Who’s at my table? Who’s at our table?


Opening Discussion:
To get the conversation going this week, take a few minutes and have the group share God stories
of how they are seeing God at work in their lives. Use the following questions to guide the

  1. What are the “God moments” from this past week? How have you seen God at work
    that is unmistakably Him?
  2. How did God speak to you through His Word this past week?
  3. How can we specifically pray for you this week?

Pray as a group – thanking God for how He is at work and asking Him to answer the requests that
were mentioned.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Ask and discuss the following questions.

Q: What was significant about Jesus calling Matthew to come and “follow” Him? Would you
have chosen Matthew to be one of your closest followers? What does this teach us about
Jesus and who can be his disciple?
Q: Read Matthew 9:10. Who was at the table with Jesus? What is significant about this?
Q: Why did the Pharisees have a problem with what they saw at the party?
Q: What does Jesus’ answer in Matthew 9:12-13 reveal about his heart and mission? What
should this mean for us?
Q: Can self-righteousness and a lack of humility affect how we view others who are
different, live differently, or believe differently than we do? If yes, how so? How do we fight
against thinking like a Pharisee?
Q: What does God mean when He says, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice”? How do we apply
this to our lives?
Q: Read John 3:16-17 and Romans 5:8. Have you ever felt that you were not good enough
to sit at the table with Jesus? What do these verses teach us about Jesus and how he loves

Q: What were some of the differences between Jesus and the Pharisees mentioned in this
week’s message? Which one stood out to you the most and why?
Q: How can we be more like Jesus when it comes to who’s at the table? In our personal
lives? In our families? In our church?

We see through this story that everyone is invited and welcomed at the table with Jesus! That’s
good news! If it were not so, we would not have been invited or welcomed either. No one is worthy
of this invitation, but that’s the amazing thing about the grace of God! Praise Jesus that His love for
us is so great and His invitation so wide that we can come to His table.
Use the following questions to wrap-up your discussion of today’s message and the series as a

  1. What did you hear?
    a. What is your one “take-away” from this week?
    b. How did God speak specifically to you through this passage and study?
  2. What do you think?
    a. How did this passage and study affirm, challenge, or change the way you think about
    the love of God?
  3. What will you do?
    a. What is your next step? How will you take the truth of God’s Word and apply it to your
    life this week?

Have group members share their answers to the above questions.
There were three points of application in this week’s message:

  1. You are invited to the Jesus’ table.
  2. Who is invited to your table?
  3. Who is invited to our table?
    As you conclude this week’s session, challenge the group to take a few minutes and think through
    these application points. Lead them to reflect on these questions:
  4. Have I accepted Jesus’ invitation to be saved and join Him at the table? If not, why not?
  5. Who is invited to my table? Am I pursuing the people that Jesus pursued?
  6. Who is invited to our table? What can I do to help BAC be a place where people are
    invited, welcomed, loved like Jesus?

Close in prayer.

 Matthew 9:9-13, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Luke 19:10, Matthew 23:4, Matthew 11:29-30, John
3:16-17, Romans 5:8

UPCOMING MESSAGES: “Jesus at the Table”

April 11, 2021 Jesus and the Tax Collector Matthew 9:9-13
April 18, 2021 Jesus and Zacchaeus Luke 19:1-10
April 25, 2021 Jesus and the Sinful Woman Luke 7:36-50, Matthew 14:3-9
May 2, 2021 The Last Supper Luke 22:14-23