"Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"
A person who claims to be God should be more careful about the company he keeps! That's what the Pharisees and teachers of the law thought. "Why doesn't Jesus hang around with people like us?" they wondered. "We have our act together! Instead he's with those traitorous tax collectors and other disgusting riffraff!"
As I reflect on Jesus' choice of dinner companions, a little girl at another table in the coffee shop steals a look at me. There are cookie crumbs stuck to her chin as she raises a hand in a shy little wave. Her grandmother, protective and fretful, holds her hand down as she sees me waving back. Grandma is thinking, "You can't be too careful about the company you keep."
Sadly, there are some nasty people in the world, and a grandmother can't be too careful. Of course, there are lots of people who are quite trustworthy too. But even these people have garbage in their lives. We're all pretty unsavory if you dig into our hearts.
Too bad the Pharisees thought they were so well put-together that they missed the truth completely. Their first mistake was not their judgment about Jesus' choice of friends. Their first mistake was their failure to realize that they were actually part of that company. They too were unsavory, sick sinners for whom Jesus had come. They-and we-all need the Doctor.
Open our eyes, Lord. We need to see our sickness, lest we, too, scoff at "those people." Then heal us with your life-giving power and love, we pray. In Jesus' name. Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!