Daily Bible Reading: Luke 15

This is a rich chapter and I encourage you to read the whole chapter.
Luke 15:1-2 NLT [1] Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. [2] This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people-even eating with them!
Why would the authorities become so upset with Jesus for associating with sinful people? The reason should be obvious, yet we often overlook it. We are influenced by the people with whom we associate. Most of us strongly believe in our ability to effectively resist that influence, but that faith is misguided. This is why we are often counseled to use wisdom as we select our friends, the people with whom we associate. They will influence us.
Yet, Jesus intentionally associated​ with people referred to as notorious sinners. He did not shun them. He welcomed them so they might be influenced by Him, so they might repent and believe the Good News, so they might experience the forgiveness God was extending through Christ.
We should also associate with sinners (this should actually be ‘other sinners,’ since we are also sinners), but we must recognize and remember that we are not Jesus. We need the power and the discernment of the Holy Spirit. Additionally, we should acknowledge the potential of being influenced​ in sinful ways and take intentional steps to guard ourselves. We should regularly meet with trusted, godly friends​ who will tell us the truth and to whom we will listen. Their influence is important.
If you were to list the people with whom you regularly associate, who among that list has great influence over you? Is it the notorious sinners? Or godly followers of Christ? How are you influencing the people around you?
As a final note, associating with sinners did influence Jesus. He took on the consequences of our sin when He died on the cross. However, Jesus’ influence on us is far greater, and it is illustrated in His resurrection.