"Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them."
"This man -- Jesus -- receives sinners and eats with them." The self-righteous Pharisees and Scribes meant this as a statement of condemnation, but for a sinner like me they are the words of redemption. Sinners know they need a Savior, and they respond when Jesus calls them. They know there's nowhere else to go. They say, as Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”