Eugene Petersen suggests that the first few verses of this passage could read as follows: The religious people were not at all pleased that Jesus was treating men and women of doubtful reputation as old friends. This is the key to the nature of Jesus. Unlike most of us, he does not treat people as “suspect until proven otherwise”. He welcomes anyone!
This does not mean that Jesus is blind to the faults of other people. It just means that he is willing to welcome people – faults and all. While this offers me the possibility of friendship with Jesus, it also challenges me when I begin to think that there might be some who Jesus might not welcome. The essence of being truly Christian is the capacity to offer love and friendship indiscriminately.
Thought:Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
John Newton (1725-1807)
The Eighth Sunday after EpiphanyProtected by God
Scripture reading taken from A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants p.95