Who do you eat with? That’s an easy question. Most of us eat with our family and occasionally close friends. These are the people we normally associate with and the people we feel comfortable with. As a Christian being comfortable seems natural when around other Christians. We like being around those who share our beliefs; Nothing wrong with that. Except Jesus often didn’t take this common route.
In Matthew 9:9-11 we see Jesus eating dinner with the absolute worst in his community. In the New testament they were referred to as sinners and tax collectors. Interesting how tax collectors had their own category. Many thought of them even worse than ordinary sinners. These people were Jews, whose job was to take money from the common people, many of whom were poor and turn it over to the government. On top of that they overtaxed and kept the difference for themselves. In this fashion they were able to accumulate great wealth.
The religiously pious of the time, the Pharisees, were critical. They did not understand the purpose of Jesus. To reach those who truly were deep in sin, He had to be with them. He had to spend time with them. They needed to see that he cared for them. The actions of Jesus were never meant to display approval. They were meant to display love.
Should Christians today seek to spend more time being with and around those that do not share their beliefs? That’s the very thing Jesus did in order to reach them. It may mean being a little uncomfortable at times. But sharing the gospel will far outweigh this sacrifice.