“Here is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.”
Matthew 11:1 (NIV)
One of the worst slurs you could place on a person’s character and reputation in Jesus’ day was to call him/her a friend of tax collectors. This is exactly the reputation Jesus earned from certain of His people when He walked among us. He hung out with the wrong crowd for certain people who felt themselves very just and good in God’s sight because they avoided those who knew they were sinners. They would not dream of having conversation with people who had messed up morally and ethically. They saw themselves as the pure and righteous and kept to themselves.
Jesus addressed the issue of His social contacts very directly when He said that when John the Baptist performed his ministry he did not party or drink with anyone, he simply showed up in time to preach and the critics took issue with him. Then Jesus said that He came to the parties and drank with the people and they still found fault. In other words no social behaviour pleased His critics.