The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?" (Luke 5:30 NASB)
Those scribes and Pharisees had the worst time of it. Their Messiah had come and they didn't like Him. In fact, they refused to admit that He WAS the Messiah! They took note of His miracles but one of the sticking points for them is described in this verse.
It was, in a way, a two-fold problem. First, Matthew had walked away from his job as a tax collector. Admittedly, even the scribes and Pharisees could see that as a good thing. Matthew celebrated by throwing a huge, lavish banquet to honor Jesus and introduce Him to all his friends. The scribes and Pharisees had not been nice to Matthew, so he didn't invite them. He invited fellow sinners to the party. From their comments, it seems the scribes and Pharisees thought that, if a lavish party was planned, there should have been a better class of guests invited, namely THEM.
How about that? They didn't want to associate with Matthew, but they didn't want to be left out of his party either. The crazy thing about their dilemma is that, had they taken off their haughty hat and come to the table as one of the crowd, Jesus would have made sure they were welcome.
2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God wants all people to repent and come to Him. He delays that more might be saved. He wanted to scribes and Pharisees the come to Jesus, but they (mostly) refused to come. How sad is that?
The thing we need to remember is that we were once (and still are) the lowliest of sinners. Maybe it doesn't look like it on the outside anymore, but on the inside, where God looks, we are. Matthew might have wanted to invite us to his party. The problem is that becoming a religious snob, like the Pharisees, is all too easy, and the saddest part of being a Pharisee is that our attitude causes us to be left out of all the God-fun!
Today, take a close look at your attitude toward people who are making lifestyle choices that are different from yours. Do you see them as someone who needs Jesus or someone you want to exclude? If an attitude change is needed, let's make it! Who wants to be a Pharisee? Not me!
Pray for the heart of Jesus toward those who are trapped in sin, especially toward our loved ones and their friends. Pray that they will find a warm welcome from the body of Christ when they respond to His call.