Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. “But go and learn what this means: `I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Mat 9:10-13 NKJ)
In Jesus’ day, the breaking of bread, the fellowship was far less formal. Those who saw their need came to Jesus, sat down, shared a meal and listened intently. Confessing their need, God set about the process of change—Matthew was a prime example. For Jesus, it was more inclusive; whosoever were invited.
As the centuries passed, it became less about fellowship and more about religion. Actually, that’s what the Pharisees were looking for. We gave it names like Communion, Eucharist, and the Lord’s Supper. We excluded the tax-collectors and sinners until they had changed and become part of the inner circle, the catechized.
Jesus was more concerned about meeting people where they were and taking them to where he wanted them to be. Mercy is better than sacrifice. We could learn so much more if we followed Jesus’ example.