After Egypt experienced seven years of fruitfulness beyond imagination according to what the LORD had shown Pharaoh, seven years of famine beyond imagination followed, again, according to what the LORD had shown Pharaoh by way of two dreams. Consequently, Pharaoh appointed Joseph who had with God’s help correctly interpreted these dreams, to take responsibility over the administration of the land, including the grain supply. As we saw last week, it was because of Joseph’s good administration that there was sufficient food not only for those in Egypt but also for neighboring countries that were also undergoing the terrible famine. This famine became the occasion for Joseph seeing his brothers over twenty years after they had cruelly sold him into slavery.
The chapter begins by stating, “1 When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, ‘Why do you just keep looking at each other?…. 2 I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.’” Verse 5 specifies that the famine extended to the land of Canaan. Therefore Jacob, too, sought provision from Egypt. However, as stated in verse 4, “Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him.” Jacob still felt the pain of losing Joseph, his favorite son, over twenty years after his other sons had led him to believe that he had been torn apart by a wild animal. Therefore Jacob wasn’t going to take any chances with Benjamin, Joseph’s younger—and full—brother by Rachel, his favorite wife, who had died while giving birth. For Benjamin was the only connection to his favorite son and wife that remained.
Thus it was that “ten of Joseph’s brothers,” verse 3, “went down to buy grain from Egypt.” They were but ten among the thousands of others who did so. And what they couldn’t have known is that they would have to go to Joseph himself to buy the sought-after grain for, as stated in verse 6, he “was the governor of the land.” This moment of meeting would prove to be the fulfillment of the dream that Joseph had had at the age of seventeen when he had shared with his brothers, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” At the time they had answered him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” Thus did they hate “him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.” But as stated at the end of verse 6, “…when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground”—just as Joseph’s dream had foretold.
Now although over twenty years had passed, verse 7 notes, “As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them,….” Yet as stated in verse 8, his brothers “did not recognize him” This is likely due to a number of factors. Again, he was only seventeen at the time that they had sold him into slavery. Therefore the change in him would have been far greater than the change in them who were already full-grown men at the time—have you ever been to a twenty-year high school reunion?! Too, Joseph had probably adopted Egyptian customs therefore he would have been clean-shaven—unlike his brothers—and likely was wearing clothes that were Egyptian in style. What is more, as stated in verse 23, he spoke to them by way of an interpreter. Last, of course, they weren’t expecting to see Joseph ever again since they had sold him into slavery. Especially since they hadn’t believed the dreams he’d had when he was seventeen, his brothers never imagined that this governor over Egypt who was now speaking so harshly to them could possibly be the little brother they had once known and treated so cruelly.
In Joseph’s harsh treatment of his brothers we’re reminded that despite his exemplary behavior thus far, he wasn’t perfect—although his treatment of them was nothing when compared with their previous treatment of him. As stated in the remainder of verse 7, Joseph “pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them” as he asked them, “Where do you come from?” “From the land of Canaan… to buy food,” they answered. Next, upon remembering “his dreams about them”—and, no doubt, remembering his brothers’ mocking incredulity upon hearing them—Joseph’s anger was stoked as he accused them saying, verse 9, “You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.” Though Joseph knew this wasn’t true he nonetheless made this serious accusation against them. Verse 10 records how they denied this, as they referred to Joseph as “my lord” and to themselves as “his servants” and again reiterated that they had come to purchase food, adding, verse 11, “We are all the sons of one man. Your servants are honest men, not spies.” But Joseph continued to give them grief saying, verse 12, “No!…. You have come to see where our land is unprotected.” His brothers’ next response, recorded in verse 13, was no doubt a painful admission for Joseph to hear: “Your servants were twelve brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father, and one is no more.” “[A]nd one is no more.” This is how they referred to Joseph. As one who no longer existed. Little did they know that the one “who was no more” now stood before them falsely charging them yet again, verse 14, and saying, “It is just as I told you: You are spies!”
Aside from his deep hurt—a hurt that had festered for over twenty years—it’s difficult to know why Joseph kept accusing his brothers of being spies, something he knew wasn’t the case. Whatever his initial reasons may have been, he used this accusation as a means of getting to see his youngest brother, Benjamin, who was but a child when Joseph had been sold off as a slave by his brothers. After insisting they were spies, as verses 15–16 record Joseph said to his them, “15 And this is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one of your number to get your brother; the rest of you will be kept in prison, so that your words may be tested to see if you are telling the truth. If you are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” Joseph’s initial thought upon seeing his brothers was to keep nine of them in prison while the tenth returned home to bring back the remaining brother. Upon stating this, verse 17, “he put them all in custody for three days.”
However, after Joseph thought over the matter for three days, he proposed an alternate plan—one that was far less harsh. It appears that Joseph’s initial anger had begun to subside for, as stated in verse 18, “on the third day” he told them what they needed to do in order to live for, he added, “I fear God.” Therefore he gave them a choice: the brothers could either do as Joseph asked and bring him their youngest brother or be put to death for the crime of being spies. His new proposal is presented in verse 20: “If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison, while the rest of you go and take grain back for your starving households.” So rather than keep all but one brother in prison while the tenth returned to bring back the eleventh as he initially had stated, he would allow all but one of the brothers return home and keep the tenth in prison as a safety measure. Too, he would send back grain with the nine in order that their starving households might be fed. However, as recorded in verse 20, he repeated to them, “But you must bring your youngest brother to me, so that your words may be verified and that you may not die.” If they wanted to prove their innocence; if they wanted to prove they weren’t spies, they would need to return with their youngest brother. Thus did Joseph come up with a way for him to see Benjamin again.
The brothers consented to Joseph’s proposal and, verses 21–22, “said to one another, ‘Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.’ 22 Reuben replied, ‘Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.’” As we’ve noted before, it’s likely that Reuben was never told by his other brothers that Joseph had been sold off to slavery for he spoke of their now having to “give an accounting for his blood” whereas the other brothers focused upon the way in which Joseph had pleaded with them for his life—pleas that fell upon their deaf ears. Not surprisingly, they wondered whether their current predicament might be a punishment for what they had done to Joseph; whether their current distress was a result of their past mistreatment of Joseph. But whereas his brothers probably had punishment from God in mind, little did they know that this unknown-to-them governor was the one who was punishing them for their former harsh treatment of him. It was he who was causing them distress for the way they had previously ignored his desperate pleading for his life.
Well, despite Joseph’s psychological torment of his brothers, he was nonetheless moved by what he heard them say for, as already noted, though “he was using an interpreter,” verse 23, he “could [of course] understand them.” And having understood them, verse 24, he “turned away from them and began to weep,….” Joseph was so moved by his brothers’ comments that he had to turn away. How could he not be moved?
For over twenty years he had puzzled over why they had treated him so cruelly and harshly;
For over twenty years he must have played out that day in his mind, over—and over—and over again, when, as a seventeen year-old boy, he had approached his brothers, glad to have finally found them, only to have them brutally attack him as they ripped from his body the beautiful robe his father had made him and threw him into a pit;
For over twenty years he must have wondered why they had taken him, a conscientious young man who had lived freely in his father’s household, and sold him into a life of slavery. What had he done to deserve such treatment? What had he done to merit such hateful behavior against him?
What becomes evident in this passage is that despite what we saw Joseph say last week—that the birth of his son Manasseh had caused him to forget all his trouble and all his father’s household—clearly he hadn’t forgotten. Clearly, the rejection he had experienced and the hurt he had subsequently undergone yet remained close to the surface.
For here, over twenty years after his brothers had sold him into slavery, he was witness at last to his brothers’ guilty consciences. And though Reuben, the eldest, was far from being a paradigm of virtue, surely his words served as a salve to some of Joseph’s wounds as he learned, for the first time, that the decision to sell him into slavery hadn’t been unanimous for Reuben, at least, had stood up for him. Is it any wonder that Joseph had to turn away from his brothers as he “began to weep”?
Well, though I realize that midway through a verse is an unusual place to end a passage, I’m going to do so nonetheless because I want to close this morning by reflecting upon some similarities between Joseph’s brothers’ treatment of him and the treatment that is too often displayed towards Jesus Christ, our Savior and LORD. If you’ll recall from when we first turned to the story of Joseph, I mentioned that some scholars consider him to be a type of Christ, a forerunner of Jesus who experienced things that Jesus himself later experienced. The more I’ve studied the life of Joseph, the more I continue to be struck by the parallels in their lives. For, as already noted, Joseph’s troubles began when he behaved in a righteous manner by speaking truly in giving his father “a bad report” concerning his brothers with whom he had been tending the flocks; and again by speaking truly to his family about the two dreams he had. Although initially his brothers “hated him and could not speak a kind word to him” because he was his father’s favorite, subsequently it was because of the dreams God had given him that they ended up hating “him all the more.”
Similarly, Jesus’ speech and actions are reasons why so many hated, why so many expressed hostility against him. Jesus’ speech and actions continue to be the reason why so many are unable to receive the amazing good news he brings. For in order to become recipients of the good news of Christ’s salvation, we must first acknowledge that we are worthy of God’s condemnation; in order to become recipients of the good news of Christ’s salvation, we must first acknowledge that we are sinners in need of a Savior. For it is only when we see—and hate—our sinful thoughts, motives, and actions, that we will be able to turn away from them and instead love and willingly bow down before Jesus, asking him to remove our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness in order that he might become not only our Savior, but also our LORD.
But I suspect that the hostility so many feel towards Christ Jesus is more a hostility towards believing he is the Christ, the Messiah—God who has come in the flesh; authoritative God who is worthy of our worship—than in believing he is Jesus, someone they perceive to be just a nice man who went around doing and saying nice things for others. The fallacy of the “Jesus is a nice man” way of thinking was brought home to me recently while reading a review of a book written about the Jefferson “bible”—and I’m putting “bible” in quotations because the Jefferson bible is as far from being God’s Holy Scriptures as one can get. Jefferson didn’t like the parts of God’s Holy Bible that spoke of Jesus as the Christ—of Jesus as God. Therefore, Jefferson created an unholy bible—an unholy book—by literally cutting out the divine parts of Jesus and leaving only the human parts behind. Yet as James Parker, the reviewer, notes,
So Jefferson’s narrative rumbles at ground level, on square wheels—no baptismal shock of light from above, no dove descending. And no risen Jesus. The Jefferson Bible ends with Jesus snug in the tomb, the cave mouth securely plugged, gobstopped, by the not-to-be-moved stone. No more words. Resurrection foreclosed. And it’s odd: As a regular, somewhat inspired guru-human, Jesus makes less sense than before. My yoke is easy and my burden light … [sic] I am the good shepherd … [sic] Stripped of their divine warrant, these weird claims make the Jeffersonian Jesus sound like Charles Manson.
Charles Manson, indeed. Ron (my husband) reminded me that Parker’s observation is reminiscent of the “lunatic, liar, or Lord” argument popularized by C.S. Lewis in his Mere Christianity:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
Both Parker and Lewis’ assessment of a merely human Jesus are spot on. I agree with Parker when he concludes, “I need Jesus and [sic] his miracles and [sic] his divine nature—I need the celestial reverb that they give to his words. Mystery, wonder, confusion—they’re the essence. Like the yeast that leavens the bread, like the treasure buried in the field. Take a razor to that, and you’re in trouble.” Or, in Lewis’ words,
You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to…. Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.
The necessity of affirming Jesus as Christ, the Messiah; of affirming Jesus Christ as God in the flesh, is evident in our New Testament passage from John 15. Here Jesus was letting his disciples know the treatment they could expect at the hands of others as a result of their following him. He began with sobering words, verse 18: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” With these words Jesus acknowledged that the ways of the world are often at odds with the ways of God. As his “exhibit A” he references earlier teaching he had given his disciples. As stated in verse 20, “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’” Maundy Thursday which is coming up soon is often a time when these words of Jesus are reenacted with a foot washing. For it was after Jesus had washed his disciples’ feet that he first proclaimed to them, “15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” Jesus’ disciples would, of course, go on to do as their master did, seeking to wash the feet of others in their service of them. And for doing and teaching the good their Master taught, they would be hated by the world.
As Jesus went on to warn them, beginning in the remainder of verse 20, the hatred the world would send their way would be not simply hostile feelings but hostile acts: “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” Just as Jesus ever identifies intimately with those who are his, so too does the world recognize his followers’ union and oneness with him. And because it does, the world treats Jesus’ followers as it would treat Jesus himself. As Jesus explained, verse 21, “They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me” (emphasis added). And right here we are reminded yet again that Jesus Christ isn’t merely human. No, Jesus is also God and “the one who sent” him was God the Father. Before Christ was sent to earth by the Father, he was with his Father in heaven. As we also noted a few weeks ago, Jesus declared, “Truly, truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”
Jesus’ heavenly Father sent him with the specific message of saving sinners. Jesus himself declared, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” It is only those who know themselves to be sinners who will turn to Jesus as God, their Savior. Again, this is the message he brought from his Father in heaven. This is the message that is intended to be good news for all but can only be good news for those who see their need for him. To those who don’t, their hostility and/or their indifference to him condemns them. As stated in verse 22, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.” In pointing out the sin of others, others are left without excuse. Therefore they hate him.
Yet again, Jesus underscored that he is the Christ, that he is the Messiah, that he is God by declaring, verse 23, “Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.” Since Jesus said and did what the Father told him to say and do, to hate his words and deeds is the same as hating the words and deeds of the Father. As he goes on to reassert, verse 24, “If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.” Christ Jesus, in word and deed, demonstrated that he was not only the son of Mary, adopted by Joseph, but also the Son of his eternal Father in heaven. For bringing God’s righteousness to earth, in both word and deed, he and those who love and serve him were—and continue to be—hated by all who prefer living according to their own sinful ways than according to the ways of God. Yet none of this was a surprise to Christ. As he concluded in verse 25 by quoting the psalmist, the hatred he experienced was “to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’”
Hatred towards Jesus Christ is “without reason” because everything he said and did was in keeping with God’s holy love. Yet human lives, since the time of the Fall, are marked by unholy hatred. Again, they are marked by either active rebellion against or passive indifference towards God and his teaching.
If Jesus had only been a “nice” man who sought to do “nice” things for others, there would be nothing to hate about him. But because he, as God, came with God’s authority demanding—for our good and eternal joy—that we release our embrace of sin, our own understanding of what will fulfill us, and embrace instead him who made us, the world hates him.
And this is also why the world hates those who proclaim Jesus’ teaching of his being the way, the truth, and the life and of no one being able to come to the Father but by him. As one commentator notes, “The world’s hatred is not due to what the disciples do wrong, but to what they do right.”
Dear sisters and brothers, let us not weary in doing is right. Let us do right and pray that others might awaken from their slumber of either active rebellion against or passive indifference towards Jesus in order that they might go from hating him to obeying him; that they might go from seeing him as but a “nice” man, to bowing before him as their Savior and LORD.
Let us pray.
Benediction: Romans 15:5–6: 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 Genesis 42:5: So Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan also.
 Genesis 37:31–33: 31 Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.”
33 He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.”
 Genesis 29:30: Jacob made love to Rachel also, and his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.; Genesis 30:22–24: 22 Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive. 23 She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” 24 She named him Joseph, and said, “May the Lord add to me another son.”;Genesis 35:16–18: 16 Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. 17 And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t despair, for you have another son.” 18 As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni But his father named him Benjamin.
 Genesis 37:6b–8. Verse 9 records his second dream in which not only his brothers but also his father and mother bow down: Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
 Genesis 42:8: Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.
 This is the reason Joseph had shaved when he was first asked to appear before Pharaoh, Genesis 41:14: So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.
 Genesis 42:23: They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.
 Genesis 42:10: “No, my lord,” they answered. “Your servants have come to buy food.
 The last statement in Genesis 41:21 is “This they proceeded to do.”
 See sermon preached on January 31, 2021, The Importance of Sowing Godly Seed on Genesis 37:15–36. Note especially verses 21–22 of Genesis 37:19–22: 9 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” 21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
 Genesis 37:14–18, 23–24: 14 So [Israel] said to [Joseph], “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron. When Joseph arrived at Shechem, 15 a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?” 16 He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?” 17 “They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him…. 23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
 Emphasis added. Genesis 41:51: Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.”
 Earlier Reuben had slept with his father Jacob’s concubine, as recorded in Genesis 35:22: While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it.
 Reuben spoke truthfully. See Genesis 37:19–22: 19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they [i.e., the other brothers] said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” 21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
 See sermon preached on January 24, 2021, Truth and Light on Genesis 37:1–14.
 Genesis 37:2: Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.
 Genesis 37:5–11: 5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. 9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
 Genesis 37:4.
 Genesis 37:5, 8b: 5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more…. 8 …And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
 James Parker, The Bible Without Miracles, in The Atlantic Monthly, November 2020. The quotations that follow can be found on p. 95. Parker’s review was of Peter Manseau’s The Jefferson Bible: A Biography in the “Culture & Critics” feature.
 Pages 54–56, emphasis added.
 Again, from Mere Christianity, London: Collins, 1952, pp. 54–56. Book II, Chapter 3, “The Shocking Alternative.”
 John 13:15–17.
 As the risen Christ Jesus said to Paul while he was yet Saul persecuting Christians, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4). In other words, to persecute those for whom Christ died and rose from death is equated with persecuting Christ himself. See also Jesus’ parable on the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25, especially verses 37–40: 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
 John 13:20. See sermon preached on March 7, 2021, The Power of Doubling—Amen & Amen! On Genesis 41:1–32.
 Luke 5:32 but see context in Luke 5:27–32: 27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. 29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” See parallel in Mark 2:17 (MARK 9:13–17): 13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. 15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” and Matthew 9:13 (Matthew 9:9–13): 9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. 10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
 Referencing Psalms 35:19: “Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye.” and 69:4: “Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal.”
 John 14:6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
 Reformation ESV Study Bible note on John 15:18.