Title: in Luke's Gospel Jesus Spends Time Eating and Drinking with Seemingly Undesirable People and Often Refers to This Idea in a Parable. Discuss This Emphasis on Meals in Luke's Gospel

Title:   In Luke’s Gospel Jesus spends time eating and drinking with seemingly undesirable people and often refers to this idea in a parable. Discuss this emphasis on meals in Luke’s Gospel

“In the various cultures underlying the New Testament dining with someone indicated solidarity with that person. To eat with is to identify with. To take a meal with another was to offer that individual the right hand of fellowship in the deepest sense of the term.” (Kelley 1995, 124)There are ten meal scenes in Luke’s Gospel where Jesus spends time with people and shares a meal with them. Many of these meals are shared with seemingly undesirable people. Jesus eats with tax collectors Levi and Zacchaeus. However, Jesus not only sought out the company of ‘publicans and sinners, he also chooses to eat with the Pharisees and other influential leaders or religious opponents with whom he shared the Word of God. Jesus chose to share his message with Jews and gentiles alike. These people became witnesses of the word after he rose from the dead. After the resurrection Peter addresses Cornelius and his household by saying: “they put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” (Acts 10:39b-41)  
  It was the companionship of the people he ate with rather than the food itself that mattered to Jesus. To eat with someone is to share closeness and establish a sense of trust and humility between the host and his friends. When Jesus shared a meal with undesirable people such as sinners and tax collectors he established a bond with them, offered them God’s hand of friendship and extended it to all people not just Jews. When Jesus shares a meal with these seemingly undesirable people, this is illustrated as outrageous behaviour. In Jewish society Jews followed strict laws about the types of people they were...