The religious leaders of Jesus day thought that it was despicable for Jesus to associate with tax collectors, considered some of the worst sinners and most hated people in all of Israel. But his disciple Matthew had been a tax collector and Jesus ate with the worst of sinners.
New King James Version (NKJV)
Matthew the Tax Collector
9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.
10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’[a] For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”[b]