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As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector's booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:14-17 NIV When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Jesus set many examples for us through the way he lived. One of those, which is often recorded in scripture is his reclining or dining with unbelievers. It is clear to me as we try to be more like Jesus that not only is it ok but I think we should be intentional about it. There is a phrase I learned a while ago in a class I took on Evangelism, it is BBQ FIRST. In other words we should recreate first with unbelievers as we gain friendship and trust so that we can share our salvation story. Not to be deceptive but rather to be genuinely interested in non believers lives and future state of salvation. Eat away!
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