Friend of Sinners
God in Three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, still my restless heart with the grandeur of Your creation.
Read Luke 15:1–10
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Today if you are found, celebrate! Don’t get in the way of sinners coming to Jesus but make a way so that he can get to them.
The three glorious parables contained in Luke 15—the sheep, the coin and the sons—are told as a result of the insult leveled at Jesus by the Pharisees and teachers of the Law: “This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them” (2). Though Jesus’ theology was very similar to that held by the Pharisees, their practices when it came to sinners were very different. Committed to separation from sin and the preservation of the Law, the Pharisees prided themselves on purity and holiness, whereas the Rabbi from up north didn’t seem to care about hand washing and gnats in the wine, let alone the questionable company he kept!
The heart of the insult represents the greatest joy for Jesus, namely that he “welcomes sinners.” They have understood that the sinner thing that Jesus does isn’t a gimmick or a stunt, but is his consistent practice. Jesus isn’t just putting up with sinners but welcomes them and actually enjoys their company—and, dare I say it, they also enjoy his! Once again the glorious paradox of the kingdom is evident. Surely the kingdom is pure, wholesome and holy? Yet here it is among the riff-raff and as The Message puts it, ”the scum.” The Pharisees saw it as their duty to protect God, whereas Jesus saw it as his duty to proclaim him. God doesn’t need protecting (he can look after himself); but his glory needs proclaiming—not to the righteous, the saved and the found; but to the sinner, the broken and the lost. In a world where the righteous sat on the inside and the sinners looked in, Jesus reversed the order so that the sinners were at the center and the religious are looking in.
How do these parables make you feel about your value to God?
Lord, in a world where it is easy to be overlooked, I thank You that in Your eyes I am of exceeding worth.