After Jesus called Matthew the tax collector to follow Him, Matthew threw a big party for Jesus with all of his friends.
Ask the children…
What kind of people were at the party? Why were the Pharisees (religious leaders) so upset?
“Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with such scum?’” (Matthew 9:10, 11)
The Pharisees had their own man made rules that forbid them from associating with sinners. They couldn’t believe a religious leader would do such a thing.
How did Jesus respond to the Pharisees?
“When Jesus heard this, he said, ‘Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.’ 13 Then he added, ‘Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’[e] For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Matthew 9:12, 13)
Just like physically sick people need a doctor to help them get well, sinners (spiritually sick people) need a spiritual doctor to help them get well. The Pharisees stayed away from sin because they didn’t really care about people, Jesus hung out with sinners in order to heal them because He wanted to show them mercy.
Ask your children if they know of some peole who are spiritually sick? Ask them how they could be a physician to one of these people? If they can’t think of anything, brainstorm together with them how they can befriend some of these people so they can show mercy like Jesus did.
Feel free to share your own stories below in the comments section.
If you like what you read about ways to teach children the Bible, check out the children’s book, Hooked on the Book, on this website. It is great for parents and kids because it provides the Big Story of God’s miraculous plan for His children in all 66 books in the Bible. CHECK OUT A FREE SAMPLE OF CHAPTER ONE BELOW.