Summary: The self-righteous religious rulers of Jesus’ day didn’t want much to do with sinners - but that was precisely the point of Jesus coming to earth! They wouldn’t receive sinners, but Jesus would ~ and He did! Will you?
The custom of the family visiting around the dinner table = Perhaps a lost art
+ Some = My family = Enjoyed visiting during meals = But also after, living room
+ And then we would play cards and that’s when the real visiting began
+ Some = My wife’s family = Loved to linger at the table after the meal and chat
+ (Of course, that has the advantage of prolonging the meal AND DESERT...Amen & amen!)
Luke 15:1-2 = Publicans and sinners were excluded from the religious community
+ Publicans = tax collectors = and their agents = tolls & customs duties
+ Regardless of the character of the man = The job made them "unwholesome"
+ Regarded as collaborators with the Romans
+ The nationalistic religious crowd (Zealots, scribes & pharisees looking for Messiah, waiting for the redemption of Israel) especially despised them
+ Sinners = [a] = Those who did not eat food in ritual purity
+ [b] = Anyone who lived "sinfully" = Yes, all those you think of first
+ Also = Not necessarily a life-style full of sin
+ Those who did not observe / observe strictly the religious laws / duties / obligations
+ Especially those mandated by the scribes & Pharisees
+ And lived as though they did not care what the religious community thought about them
Jesus’ behavior here runs counter to the standards of piety among his Jewish contemporaries.
+ Table fellowship indicated intimate relations among those who shared it
+ "receiveth" = To admit to hospitality
+ Suggests you are looking for and waiting for a particular person to entertain
+ And the verb is in the "middle voice" = Stresses the subject (Jesus) is doing the action
+ And that action is "eateth" = Not just to "eat with" but "to take food in company with"
+ Almost suggests Jesus is the host = Perhaps not so for "the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" (Matt. 8:20, Luke 9:58)
+ But that helps understand the seriousness of the crime with which he’s being charged here
And to the prosecution, this was a serious crime
+ The Pharisees were particularly scrupulous about their special rules on eating
+ Did not like to eat with those less scrupulous = Esp. "publicans and sinners"
+ And they would look at Jesus = Reputation for being a wise teacher
+ They assumed He ought to share their religious convictions
It is true that the OT gave clear warning on the danger of spending time with sinners
+ ie: Prov. 1:10, 15-16; 13:20-21
+ In the OT God instructed "sinners" in His way
+ ie: Ps. 25:8-9 = The humble who knew their need
+ It is clear that the moral influence is from Jesus to the sinners (not the reverse) = 
+ And this kind of controversy is nothing new to Jesus
+ Nicodemus coming to see Him at night = Early in 1st year of ministry = Reputation
+ Near end of 1st year = Call’s Levi (Matthew) = A publican!
+ ie: Luke 5:27-28 = Take heed to what  says, please!
Jesus often would use the common images of the day to make His point
+ ie: Physician seeking those who are sick = Luke 5:29-32
+ And Jesus is going to do that here as he communicates God’s message to his listeners during this wonderfully intimate fellowship
+ At same time He’s going to turn the tables on those making unjust accusations against Him
+ And as we look at this I want to key in on  = "This man receiveth sinners"
Now those scribes and Pharisees "murmured" that = "To complain throughout a crowd"
+ They knew they were righteous = They knew they were obeying the letter of the law
+ And here were these people who were obviously sinners = Just look at them
+ And Jesus did look at them = And yes they were sick = They needed a physician
+ But these publican and sinners knew they were sick
+ That’s why they "drew near unto him...for to hear him"
+ And Jesus gladly received them
And do you know why this Man receiveth sinners?
+ Because they are loveable...like a lost sheep = Luke 15:3-4
+ 100 was an avg.-sized flock = And shepherds often worked / travelled together
+ So this shepherd knew the 99 were safe = But not the one lost in the wilderness
+ Out in the desert and the waste-land = Lost = Alone
+ Out with all the dangers = Wolves & other predators = Cold
+ He knew he was in a race against time = And he wouldn’t rest until he found it
+  = Easiest way to carry a lamb = Over shoulders, legs crossed over chest