But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:2
It is commonly taught to children that they must be careful who they hang around with. The entire reason for this warning is that often people take on the character of those they are around.
When a person continually hangs around people of poor or bad character, they will often begin to have a poor or bad character. It is rare that one’s good character rubs off on to those with a bad character.
Tax collectors and sinners had been gathering around Jesus and He was eating with them. Some religious leaders were upset about His mingling and eating with the sinners.
During the time of Jesus walking on the earth, the tax collectors were seen as some of the lowest of low people on the earth. They were traitors to the rest of the Israelites in the eyes of many and worthy of only death. Yet, Jesus ate with them.
Many believers avoid people of very low reputation. Often it is because they do not want to be seen as accepting or promoting sinful behavior.
Jesus never accepted or promoted the sinful behavior in sinners. However, He did meet with them because He knew He had something that they needed–Himself.
Every believer has something that the world desperately needs–Jesus. The only way that the world can find out about Jesus is if a believer will take the time to be with them. Believers need to go to the sinners and spend time with them in order to be able to share the gospel message with them.
As this is done, some will misunderstand and accuse the believer of eating with sinners. Yet, if the focus is to get the message out, it is doing what Jesus did.
Looking at your own life, as a believer, you may ask who are you trying to reach with the gospel message. Are you trying to just reach other believers, or are you trying to reach the lost?
Jesus was focused upon reaching the lost. As a believer you must also have the same focus as Jesus. To have that focus, you must be willing to go where the world is and meet with them, talk with them and eat with them. This is not participating in their sins or promoting those sins, but bringing them God’s love and message.
Are you being accused of eating with sinners?
Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will have the heart of God to reach the lost; that you will bring Jesus to the world; that you will influence the world for God, and not allow the world to influence you for sin; and that all will accuse you of reaching the lost for God.