“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them…”
What a trip. The Son of God walks among us. He looks into our eyes. He sees our hearts. He knows the sorry, black sin of the flesh. He sees our strong, perfect-looking exteriors and knows our inner weakness, our broken hearts, our failing commitments, our sense of uselessness and despair, our loneliness. His face is set like flint upon His Father’s mission, yet He stops to gaze into our lives. He’s not just window shopping for friends either. He’s extending an invitation to us, hoping for an invitation from us. He’s opening His heart to us. He’s welcoming us, pulling up a chair at the dinner table and asking us to pass the potatoes. Jesus is at our table.
It’s radical, actually. God enfleshed welcomes sinners. More remarkable than that, He sits down at their table and eats with them. Yuck. Sinners tend to have dirty hands and are so messy. So rude. So insensitive. So consumed with the things and “problems” of this life. So stinky. So self centered. So ugly to each other. So noisy. He even sees that spot of mashed potato stuck to Wendell’s chin. Ugh. Hand the guy a clean napkin. Who would welcome sinners and eat with them? He has better things to do.
It’s so simple it is simply shocking. Luke quotes Jesus’ enemies, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
I have learned a one word response.