Whom Do You Eat With?

After Matthew gives us an example of how Jesus taught by detailing the Sermon on the Mount, he provides a series of brief vignettes of Jesus doing things. He heals, travels back and forth across the lake, chats with people. There’s Jesus teaching and then Jesus in action.

In one story, he tells of Jesus coming by his tax collector’s booth. Jesus offers an invitation, “Follow me.”

And he did.

Then, there was a large celebratory dinner at Matthew’s house. Jesus was there with his disciples (most likely the closest 12). Evidently everyone was having a good time eating, drinking, talking.

Large dinners were held in a courtyard of the housing compound. They’d be along the street where anyone could walk by and see who was at dinner.

The proper, uptight church folks came by wearing their scowls, I’m sure. They were offended. Here was a rabbi publicly at dinner with people who were not proper church society types.

They took some disciples aside, “Why does your teacher eat with sinners and tax collectors?”

Where I used to live there was a larger, famous bar called The Pub. It was a notorious hangout for men having dates with women who were not their wives, as well as other types of people not expected in one of the many churches in the area. We had a pastor who (with permission) took Sunday night church to The Pub. A Catholic friend of mine asked me if he could go. “Sure.” He wondered if he could have a beer while there. “Sure.”

I have known people who intentionally invite diverse groups to dinner regularly.

But I am wondering, who are we all seen dining with? Can we be strong with Jesus who said that it is the sick who need a doctor, not the well. Do we only associate with the church people? Or maybe have a beer with those in need of a kind word?

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