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!
Immediately, 2 things are evident here.
Jesus possessed so much breadth & depth of spirit that “notorious sinners” wanted to be around Him.
Understand that “notorious sinners” wouldn't normally hang out with supposedly righteous Jews because the Jews weren't supposed to hang out with such people – their sinfulness would make these holy Jews “unclean”.
“Notorious sinners” would have been treated badly by holy Jews & probably would have been run off by these same holy Jews.
And yet, in the face of all of that, these outcasts made the definite choice to try to be around Jesus.
There was something about Jesus that made putting up with all the rude behavior worth it.
The other thing that is obvious here is that it would certainly seem that Jesus wanted to be around these outcasts.
He clearly accepted them in such a way that he was willing to eat with them.
Now, understand that back then, holy people didn't hang out with sinners, & they certainly did not eat with them – eating with them would have defiled a holy Jew, making him or her unable to worship in the Temple.
So, there was a quality of Jesus' personhood that was such that ever the very outcasts of Jewish society wanted o be around Him.
And Jesus clearly wanted to be around these outcasts, even eat meals with them, a big social no no.
Would it be a stretch of the imagination to say that if we follow Jesus & are trying to become more like Him, that the same thing would be said of us?
Wouldn't it make sense to say that there should be something about our lives & our relationship with Jesus that would cause “notorious sinners” of our time want to be around us?
And in the same vein, wouldn't it also make sense that if we follow Jesus & are becoming more like Him, that we in turn would want to be around these kinds of outcasts socially to the point of sharing a meal with them?
Unfortunately, I'm afraid most “notorious sinners” probably wouldn't want to be around Christians these days.
And I'm equally afraid that most would want to be around such outcasts.
How far have we fallen away from the crux of who we're to be like, & who we want to hang with?
And what must we do about it?