Luke 5.29 - Levi's party

wross wross at
Tue Jan 5 15:31:06 EST 1999

Finally, the "tax collectors", like the "scribes and pharisees" have been
demonized by Church tradition- but there simply is no evidence at all that
they were somehow viewed by their contemporaries as particularly evil or
wretched.  The purpose of this demonization, it seems to me, is to paint
Jesus in technicolor- i.e., as one who accepts EVERYONE!  Beyond this it is
very unlikely that those groups (scribes, pharisees, tax collectors) were
any worse than anyone else as far as their contemporaries were concerned).

The evidence in Scripture is everywhere, though. A quick glance at the
references to publicans in the NT yields many unfavorable references. The
apparent sin of publicans was extracting taxes for the Romans PLUS EXTRA.
This would get the goat of John Q. Taxpayer in a hurry.

Luke 3:
12  Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what
shall we do?
13  And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.

Luke 5:
30  But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying,
Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
31  And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a
physician; but they that are sick.
32  I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

As to the scribes and Pharisees being unpopular, I suppose it would relate
to incidents like this:

Matthew 23:14  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye
devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye
shall receive the greater damnation.

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