The dinner parties with Jesus remind us that we are living the way God created us and saved us to live, not in solitude or isolation, not by ourselves, but in community. We are saved by God and called by him to live in deep connection and relationship with others.
Think about it: Every single time anybody asked Jesus, “What’s the single most important command?” he refused. No, no, there’s not one important command, it’s two! Love God with everything you’ve got and love your neighbor the same way. Jesus made it clear that you can’t do one without the other.
We need God, yes. And we so desperately need each other. Jesus Christ is a people person and the Kingdom of God is a community of people people. The research bears this out. Especially in light of the global pandemic, the studies are showing that people are much healthier – physically, emotionally, mentally – when they live and work and play in tight connections with other people. You’re going to live longer, you’ll have fewer issues, if you do life with other people. It has very little to do with diet or exercise or health habits. According to the data, you’re better off eating donuts with a group of close friends than eating broccoli by yourself! Now, that’s a theology I can embrace!
That’s what Jesus is showing us with these dinner parties. The Kingdom of God is lived and practiced and experienced in community with other people.