Contagious Holiness: Jesus' Meals with Sinners (New Studies in Biblical Theology) by Craig L. Blomberg
Honored in 2006 as a "Year's Best Book for Preachers" by Preaching magazine. One of humanity's most basic and common practices―eating meals―was transformed by Jesus into an occasion of divine encounter. In sharing food and drink with his companions, he invited them to share in the grace of God. He revealed his redemptive mission while eating with sinners, repentant and unrepentant alike. Jesus' "table fellowship" with sinners in the Gospels has been widely agreed to be historically reliable. However, this consensus has recently been challenged, for example, by the claim that the meals in which Jesus participated took the form of Greco-Roman symposia―or that the "sinners" involved were the most flagrantly wicked within Israel's society, not merely the ritually impure or those who did not satisfy strict Pharisaic standards of holiness. In this New Studies in Biblical Theology volume, Craig L. Blomberg engages with the debate and opens up the significance of the topic. He surveys meals in the Old Testament and the intertestamental period, examines all the Gospel texts relevant to Jesus' eating with sinners, and concludes with contemporary applications. Addressing key issues in biblical theology, the works comprising New Studies in Biblical Theology are creative attempts to help Christians better understand their Bibles. The NSBT series is edited by D. A. Carson, aiming to simultaneously instruct and to edify, to interact with current scholarship and to point the way ahead.