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What was wrong with tax collectors?

But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Luke 5:30

            Tax collectors were not liked for a number of reasons in Jesus’ day.  Nobody has ever liked paying taxes, then and now.  Especially then because the money went to the Romans who had lavish lifestyles and used their power to oppress the Jews.  Who wants to give money to someone to see their rights taken away?  Second, tax collectors sometimes had to use force to get the money they needed.  That got ugly.  Finally, while some tax collectors were Romans, others were Jewish (known as publicans) hired by Rome to tax their own people.  This made them despised for two reasons, the biggest reason was betrayal.  For Jesus to eat with tax collectors and call one to be his apostle (Matthew) was unusual, but showed his compassion for sinners who could be redeemed.