The Outcasts and the Self-Righteous: A Self – Evaluation (Matthew 9:9 – 13; John 81 – 11) Bible Lesson. Teen Bible Lesson.
- How does a person’s social standing, economic status, or ethical or moral behavior affect our willingness to accept them as “worthy” of being a follower of Christ?
- What causes us to be hesitant to accept some individuals as being able to change and grow as they follow Christ?
- Have you ever seen (or heard of) someone manipulating or twisting the rules (the law) for their own personal gain?
Jesus had a way of shocking society with those He chooses to associate with and love. He loves the even the most unlovely people. I want this lesson to challenge us to examine our own lives and discover with whom we need to share Jesus’ love. It is important that we concentrate on the way Jesus views others and attempt to follow His example in our own lives. Jesus desires even those the world has rejected.
Matthew, the Tax Collector (Matthew 9:9 – 13)
“As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.
Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (New American Standard Bible)
(See also: Mark 2:15 – 20; Luke 5:29 – 35)
The occupation of tax collector was one of the most high-paying yet detestable positions in their society. Many condemned tax collectors as thieves of their hard-earned money. They were correct. Typically, the government required a fixed amount of revenue from an assigned territory. Whatever the collector could gather above that amount (by any means necessary) was his to keep.
Furthermore, tax collectors were also considered traitors. The taxes collected would support the occupying Roman army. Jews who would take money from their brothers and give it to their captors were certainly worthy of contempt.
1. Think of a person you know that you do not believe will ever come to Jesus.
2. What actions of this person make you think this?
3. Is this person any less likely than Matthew to follow Jesus? Explain.
4. What can you do to make Jesus’ call to this person clearer?
5. In what way has your attitude toward this person been like the Pharisees’ attitude toward Matthew and his friends?
6. How can you correct such an attitude?
7. In the way you relate to “undesirable types”, are you more like Matthew (inviting them to your party), the Pharisees (looking down on them), or Jesus’ disciples (unsure what to do)? Why?
A Woman Caught In Adultery (John 8:1 – 11)
“But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?”
They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.
Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” (New American Standard Bible)
8. Imagine that the Pharisees brought you to Jesus after you were accused of a particular sin, just like the woman caught in adultery. What sin would you be accused of?
9. If you are able to speak to Jesus, what would you say?
10. If you feel you would be too timid or ashamed, what would Jesus say to you?
11. Name one thing you have done this past week that was wrong.
12. Did you try to justify that act with an excuse? What was it?
13. Name at least one temptation you will probably face this week.
14. Imagine someone whom you have judged harshly. Imagine that person being brought before Jesus now.
15. Now imagine that Jesus asks you how He should judge that person. What do you say to Him?
16. According to Jesus, where should you maintain your focus? How can you do so?