Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm (Proverbs 13.20).
All the tax-collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15.1-2)
Jesus, given his chosen company, according to an ancient proverbial saying, perchance on the minds of the religious authorities who were expected to know about such matters, woefully lacked moral character.
So, why did Jesus consort with the spiritually and socially disreputable?
To obtain their approval? Nay. Their endorsement might (would!) have mattered little to not at all in a world that despised them.
To ingratiate himself by bestowing upon them his attention? Nay. They, armed and armored with a hard-won skepticism, might (would!) have been wary of the utterly unexpected deferential treatment of a noted rabbi.
I think it was Jesus’ earthy (grounded) humanity that allowed him to be wholly (holy!) present with all those whom the decent people avoided. In this, Jesus demonstrated an equality of respect for the dignity of all that clearly, convincingly mirrored and magnified for all to see the God of Love who created all in the Divine Image.
© 2021 PRA