However, in these eloquent actions, Jesus was making a bold statement. He deliberately chose these controversial dining partners to highlight the universality of His mission and to demonstrate His power to transform sinners and welcome them back into covenant fellowship.
Notice how Jesus responded to the Pharisees’ complaint: “It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick” (Mt. 9:12, New Jerusalem Bible). Just as a doctor must have contact with the sick, so does Jesus draw near to sinners to restore them to spiritual health. In this sense, His practice of eating with sinners and tax collectors signified a greater miracle than His healing of blindness, leprosy, and other illnesses. Without saying a word, Jesus symbolically restored these outcasts to God’s covenant family and announced a surprise cast of members in the kingdom He was building. Once again, His actions spoke louder than His words.
(Sri, “Louder than Words: Jesus Puts His Words into Actions”)