First, that church probably no longer exists. Oh, I happen to know that a church still meets in that building. But it is not the same group of people. Some have died and gone on. Some have moved out; some have moved in. But I imagine that all the ones who are still there have grown into better people. Twenty years can make a difference in anyone’s life.
And the problem of the group that did exist then was not that they made a mistake in their judgment about why we were there. It did not matter why we were there. Someone should have greeted us warmly and welcomed us into the building whether we were poor people down on our luck, so to speak, or Christians who accidentally left their Sunday clothes hanging in the garment bag on a doorknob somewhere in the house. If someone had greeted us, but only because they recognized us from a meeting sometime in the past, that would have been wrong too.
But as to asking, “Where was that?” the right question is the one the apostles asked when Jesus told them one of them would betray him. As much as they failed to comprehend the kingdom, despite his teaching and their knowledge of Old Testament prophecy, as much as they still fought among themselves about who would be the greatest even that very night, they did not start glancing around the table and whispering among themselves things like, “I bet it’s Levi. I told Jesus you could never trust a tax collector.”
No. Matthew tells us, And they were exceeding sorrowful and began to say to him every one, Is it I, Lord? 26:22. Mark tells us they asked him one by one, 14:19.
So when I hear a particularly pointed sermon, I shouldn’t look around to make sure brother Whozit is there to hear it because he really needs it. I shouldn’t look across the aisle at sister What’s-her-name with a “So there!” expression on my face.
What is it we say about approved apostolic example? We use it to nail all sorts of false doctrines, but how about nailing ourselves?
“Is it I, Lord?”
Judge not that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge you shall be judged, and with what measured you mete, it shall be measured unto you. And why do you behold the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, “Let me cast the mote out of your eye,” while the beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First cast the beam out of your own eye and then you may see clearly to cast the mote our of your brother’s eye, Matthew 7:1-5.