“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him” (v1). The religious leaders grumbled and complained when Jesus broke bread with people who were considered unclean because of their obvious sinful lifestyles. The Pharisees were concerned with maintaining the purity of their own community. But Jesus had a different perspective; these spiritually-hungry sinners belonged to God; they were the “lost sheep” of the Father’s flock, and God rejoiced when even one of them repented (v4).
According to Jesus, God not only loves those who are lost, but He pursues them and does everything possible to bring them home (v4).