1 Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach.
2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!
It is a curious thing that “notorious sinners” WANTED to hang around Jesus.
Back then it was socially acceptable to treat such people very badly.
But even in the face of mean & abusive treatment, these “notorious sinners” still came to see Jesus & listen to Him teach.
But what's really equally incredible is that Jesus seems to WANT to be around them.
He wanted to be around them so much He would even each with them!
Back then, if you hung around sinner you could be deemed ritually unclean – iow, you couldn't go to the temple.
So not only did Jesus hang out with them, He even ate with them, which was unheard of because that would make you uber-unclean.
And the holier-than-thou people of the day (the Pharisees) made it abundantly clear they didn't like Jesus hanging out with sinners.
These 2 verses beg 2 questions for us today.
Is there something about the quality of our treatment of others that is so attractive to the “notorious sinners” of our day that they WANT to be around us?
And do we see such people just as valuable to God as we are, so much so that we WANT to be around them, not as some do-gooder, but as someone who actually likes them & cares about them?