Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
– Luke 15.1-2
In the story of the Prodigal Son, Jesus is showing an element of the Gospel love which he came to share with God’s people, the righteous and the sinners alike.
This illustration by Alexandre Bida is a great depiction of Jesus ‘welcoming sinners and eating with them’.
Jesus is the Lord of all creation, he is God himself in the flesh. Here he isn’t ‘lording it over’ those he is around. He’s not dominating. He’s not imposing. He sits around the table as an equal.
Yet in this position he’s something interesting, he’s somehow different. If you look, each of the others are looking towards him. Some have their hands on their chins, reflecting on what he’s saying.
I don’t personally know the significance, but I notice that everyone else in this picture has their head covered while Jesus doesn’t.
There’s food being served by the woman on the left, and the woman on the right is carrying jars which would have stored wine. She’s leaving out the door – to get more? Or as a sign that these ‘publicans’ are no longer focusing on the wine but on Jesus? I don’t know, it’s just a reflection on the way the picture is framed.
Lastly, Jesus is holding in his hands a loaf of bread – the way he’s holding it suggests that he might well be about to break it and share it out, an idea we will look at more in a couple of weeks.