“To eat with someone in the ancient world was “tantamount to extending to them intimacy, solidarity, acceptance; table companions were treated as though they were of one’s extended family.”
In Luke, ten meal scenes are identified, commencing with Jesus’ meal with Levi (Luke 5:29-39), and concluding with Jesus’ meal with his disciples after the resurrection (Luke 24:13-49).
One additional scene that likely included a meal is when Mary and Martha showed Jesus hospitality (Luke 10:38-42).
“[The] meals themselves are integral to the unfolding gospel narrative. Indeed, the meals function as transformative encounters, embodying the challenge and opportunity of Jesus’ proclamation for those who are present.”
It is in that context that Jesus re-oriented the cultural expectations of those who were upset with his table companions.”