“This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!“
I know it seems silly, but a lot has been learned over time from who is seen eating with whom. It’s not just who is with whom at The Four Seasons Restaurant in NYC or Bucks in Woodside, etc. It’s long been a watched activity at any company cafeteria observing who sits with whom for a meal. It’s over a meal that we have made deals, solidified relationships, ended arguments. And now, we don’t eat with anyone but ourselves, maybe in front of a screen without anyone else watching. Who is eating with whom is a “cue” that is gone right now. But, we can be sure that when we are back together again soon, we will be waiting and watching to see who goes to lunch with whom.
Jesus got called out by the Pharisees for eating with sinners and tax collectors. The Pharisees and teachers were watching and even then, the sharing of a meal was a marker of what was accepted and not accepted for certain people. It’s not a coincidence that in our own country at one time people of different skin colors could not eat together in public. That Jesus broke the norms and barriers is another reason why I love who He was when He was on the earth. He was not afraid to sit down with whomever wanted to sit with Him. And, it’s a great reminder for us too that if we had found ourselves in our own regular cliques for lunch that when we go back, it is time to take in others who whom we normally wouldn’t sit down and share time and a meal. If Jesus could model it then we can do our best to follow His example.
Reference: Luke 15: 2 (New Living Translation)