All throughout the Gospel, Jesus Christ is shown to be “the friend (and defender) of sinners” who “ate and drank.” (See Luke 7:34). In this story, we find Him to be eating, drinking, and befriending a female sinner.
Jesus welcomed the tax collectors, the thieves, the prostitutes, and the adulterers into His kingdom. For this reason, the Lord consistently violated social taboos to reach out to those who the culture marginalized (Luke 7:1–10), economically (Luke 7:11–17), religiously (Luke 7:24–34), and morally (Luke 7:36–50).
But He leveled his severest critique to the religious, self-righteous, morally upright. (See the Lord’s bone-chilling rebukes to such people in Matthew 23.)These self-righteous folks disqualified themselves from the kingdom of God—the kingdom they thought they were building through their outwardly pristine behavior.
This truth is part of the astonishing reversal of the kingdom of God. And it goes against every expectation that the people of Israel had about what the world would look like when God’s kingdom materialized on earth.
No one expected that the kingdom would look like prostitutes forgiven, tax collectors received, adulterers rescued, divorcees honored, traitors absolved—each of them receiving a new life and a high place in God’s house, all because of the amazing grace, unfailing mercy, and abundant redemption of Israel’s true Messiah.