23. Jesus Dines with Sinners.
Jesus selected his disciples for their spirituality and was not concerned with their social status. Levi, a tax collector, followed Jesus, and in gratitude he gave a large banquet. The scholars and Pharisees complained because of the type of people with whom this spiritual man was associating. Jesus went to those who were most in need of his assistance and most open to receive it, not to the self-righteous but to those who were willing to change their lives (repent). A loving God encourages mercy toward people, not harsh standards.
Fasting is a hard discipline utilized to gain self-mastery and purification of the body; but Jesus and his disciples had no need to fast just then because the Spirit was flowing freely. When the one with the direct spiritual connection would be taken away from them physically, then fasting would be in order.
Jesus was bringing forward a new dispensation for a new age, and the forms of the old religion could not adjust to the changes. Therefore it was better to start new with fresh forms rather than letting the old and new ruin each other trying to fit them together. Many who are used to the old patterns do not want to accept the new.