What a strange thing to say; When Jesus says to us in the light of such resistance and stubborn conflict, treat them as you would Gentiles tax collectors" is confusing indeed, precisely because these words come
from Jesus himself. We know how we are to treat Gentiles and tax collectors, or at least we have an inner traditional prejudice that tells us.
These are the very questions in the back of our minds, the ones we dare not ask lest the answers are not what we want or expect. In the time of Jesus it was clear as to how Gentiles and tax collectors were to be treated and we would quite happily agree. Have nothing to do them!
But it seems that Jesus has different answers to our back of the mind questions and, the reason these questions remain in the back of our minds is that we get this feeling that Jesus' answers might ask of us something that goes against our self righteous attitude. After all, there is a certain satisfaction in being right.
Shunning was, and still is a common practice. Today our option is to "Un-friend" them on Facebook. It is when we look at how Jesus dealt with Gentiles and tax collectors and other "sinners" we notice that Jesus ate with and met with and had fellowship with them, Jesus does not un-friend.
Next week Peter asks Jesus, "Just how many times do I have to forgive?"