Day 25 – Luke 15:1-19
Let’s look at the first three verses of this amazing chapter in the Bible to get the context firmly fixed in our minds: “Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them! So Jesus told them this story:” Okay then. Jesus taught a lot. Wherever He was, whether in a synagogue on Sabbath or in a wheatfield or by the lake, He taught. He attracted crowds of people. Thousands at times, if you recall the feeding of the five thousand men (not to mention the women and children) incident … The Pharisees and the teachers of religious law would come, mostly to try to find fault with Him. They noticed something that disturbed them.
Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often showed up to listen. How repugnant, they thought. What was Jesus doing with the dregs of society? Who are the notorious sinners of our day? Loan sharks, pimps, alcoholics and drug addicts, homeless people, peddlers of porn? The Bible doesn’t say, so I am guessing here. Basically, who are the ones that people shy away from and avoid? Those people. Those are the ones that dared to stand next to “respectable” people to hear what Jesus had to say.
Isn’t it awesome that Jesus attracted that far-reaching range of people? Isn’t it lovely that He spoke in a way that drew even the “notorious sinners” into His teaching circle? It makes me want to hear Jesus teach. It must have been mesmerizing. Mark calls it amazing teaching over and over in his gospel. People were “amazed” by Jesus’ teaching.
The three stories in Luke 15: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the two lost sons (lost in vastly different ways) all are told to answer the Pharisees and religious leaders’ complaint that Jesus allowed really horrible, nasty, and downright evil people to listen to Him and seemed to welcome them. Each story declares in no uncertain terms that God wants the lost ones, the hopeless cases, the ones that everyone has given up on and avoids. He wants them. And … when a “notorious sinner” turns? God doesn’t lecture them. Nope. He throws them a party. I love our God so much!!
My verse: Luke 15:5 “And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.”
My response: I love the tenderness, Lord! The shepherd doesn’t drag that lamb home berating it. He carries it on his shoulders with joy!! You’re not mad and out for revenge when one of Yours goes astray. You’re full of compassion and You carry us home.