Matthew 9:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 9:11, NIV: "When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?'"

Matthew 9:11, ESV: "And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”"

Matthew 9:11, KJV: "And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?"

Matthew 9:11, NASB: "When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, 'Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?'"

Matthew 9:11, NLT: "But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with such scum?'"

Matthew 9:11, CSB: "When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?""

What does Matthew 9:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Eating together, reclined around a low table in someone's home, was a more close and intimate experience in Jesus' day than it is in modern times. Sharing meals, often summarized as "breaking bread," implied a level of trust and acceptance.

The Jewish religious leaders known as the Pharisees were very careful about who they shared a meal with, for that reason. They hoped to avoid even the appearance of associating with disreputable people. The law itself did not forbid this, but they had established rules for themselves beyond the law to protect their reputations as righteous men. Discretion about a person's companions is not unwise, in and of itself (1 Corinthians 15:33; Psalm 1:1). However, the Pharisees were brutally arrogant, and their rules of conduct came to carry nearly the weight of the law itself.

Jesus simply ignored rules and standards that went beyond the requirements of the law. He is doing so again in this passage: sharing a meal in the home of a tax collector. Also present are His disciples and more tax collectors and "sinners." In this context, "sinners" are those people who broke religious rules and even the law itself (Matthew 9:9–10). These are people considered dirty, flawed, and even unclean by their culture.

The Pharisees didn't get it. Jesus was a popular rabbi who spoke passionately about God and righteousness. In their eyes, they wonder why He's being foolish about those with whom He is seen sharing meal. Why would He sully His reputation by associating with these people? That's what they asked Jesus' disciples. Christ's answer (Matthew 9:12–13) reveals both His mission and the true motives of His critics' hearts.