In this five-week series, Criticizing Jesus: The Words of Jesus, we will look at the criticisms Jesus faced during his ministry. What does each criticism reveal about Jesus’s character, priorities, authority, and mission?
Jesus faced criticism because a righteous person should know better than to spend time with someone so unrighteous. Or, a good person should not be hanging out with “someone like that.” To put it colloquially, you might say, “I wouldn’t be caught dead with that person.” There was an expectation (and perhaps still is in the church) that a righteous person—that is, someone who does all the right things according to their understanding of God—would not turn around and associate with someone who, either intentionally or through ignorance, lives a life at odds with God. When they see Jesus acting in a way that contradicts their worldview, they are confused and critical of his behavior. Jesus is trying to show them that God values everyone.