Later on he was in his house having dinner, and a number of tax-gatherers and outcasts took their places at the table with Jesus and his disciples; for many of them were following him.
to sup with the poor
around their table
with their friends
opens eyes and hearts
generosity sneaks in
water is more delicious
conversation is playful
who knew it could be like this
in this widening context
we naturally have each other’s back
and see a new community in formation
hidden gifts are revealed
During the Cold War (1947–91?) we heard about a “domino effect” as a bad thing. A reverse domino effect around Jesus is beginning to be noticed. People who have been knocked over, are standing again and doing so together.
“Sinners” is not a helpful translation here. We are not talking about Gentiles. We are not talking about rebellion against G*D, as Paul puts it. We are simply talking about those who are in regular violation of the religious regulations primarily noted by the Pharisees and Scribes. In this day they might also be located with the “spiritual, but not religious”.
“Sinners” could be a word that those around table would use for themselves in the same way that any group of outcasts will appropriate the main culture’s denigrating term for them. The LGBTQIA community can use the “Q” word and the Black community can use the “N” word, but others cannot do so However, this is not what is being described here.
It is around the table that community is formed. Here we learn our new manners, how this group will behave toward one another. By extension this will also be the way these learners, disciples, will behave toward those not in the group. These manners are the best evangelistic tool they will have to further invite people to join them in following.
It is this forming and reforming community that will be able to handle the deepening difficulties of rebellion, re-defeat, and temple destruction. In the middle of a seemingly hopeless situation, these castaways will find ways to mutually support one another.