Jesus reclines at the feast of Levi, and he is surrounded by more tax-collectors and sinners. He is keeping company with some bad folk. To be labeled a sinner was not to be socially misunderstood; it wasn’t an unfair prejudice against those who were different. No, sinners were categorized as such because of infamous sin.
In rabbinic texts, tax-collectors are found in lists of sinners next to murderers and robbers.
Sinners included men who cheated on their wives, sex-workers, cheating and greedy businessmen, people who never went to synagogue but frequented pagan temples, and those who dabbled in divination and the occult. In rabbinic texts, tax-collectors are found in lists of sinners next to murderers and robbers. Why?
Well, their extortion of levies was basically theft. Also, the tax-collector’s muscle could get too rough with a resistant payer and kill the person. Beat downs can easily result in death. Levi was not a good person who did a few bad things. No, he made his living by overcharging and hanging out with Gentile pagans.
Parents keep their kids away from the people with whom Jesus is eating. Levi might even have corrupted a few good teenagers away from the synagogue to come work for him with the promise of big money. The father, in the book of Proverbs, would be shouting about now, “Son don’t consent to go with sinners.” Read more»
Beautiful Christian Life | “Should Christians Hang Out with Sinners Like Jesus Did?” | December 3, 2021
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