July 15, 2019 by eric echols
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:1-2
From the moment Adam & Eve sinned in the garden, men and women have been hiding from God. Then the amazing happens! Jesus comes along and people no longer run FROM Him, they run TO Him.
People far from God didn’t run from Jesus, they ran to Him
Why? What changed? They realized for the first time in their lives that God was pursuing them. Though they were rejected by the religious elite, Jesus came along and wanted to be their friend. The fact that Jesus is a friend of sinners means there is hope for all of us. In spite of everything we’ve done wrong and all of the mistakes we’ve made…Jesus is ready to welcome us.
Joy and exhilaration should have proceeded from the lips of the Pharisees when they said, “this man receives sinners and eats with them”. But they were not commending Jesus, they were being critical of Him. They went as far as to call Jesus a glutton and a drunk; simply because He socialized with people who were.
What should have been good news was actually bad news for those steeped in their religion. They assumed that because Jesus shared a meal with sinners…He either didn’t take sin seriously or He actually condoned their immoral behavior.
What the Pharisees saw as a problem was actually the solution! The very thing they criticized was the very thing Jesus came to do. His purpose is to seek & save those far from God…and sharing His life with them was part of His plan.
I find it really interesting that Jesus attracted sinners while the Pharisees repelled them
I find it really interesting that Jesus attracted sinners while the Pharisees repelled them. Unfortunately there are far too many churches and Christians that are more in line with the Pharisees than with Jesus in how they interact with people who are far from God. It saddens me, that as followers of Jesus we should be known for our love but we’re often known for judgmental attitude. Far too many non-Christians know what we are against rather than what we are FOR.
Sinners that Jesus came in contact with knew that He was FOR them and that’s why they all wanted to be near Him. People far from God were attracted to Jesus…not because He catered to them OR compromised His message for them BUT because He cared for them!
Jesus ate with sinners and enjoyed being in their company…and so should we! As Jesus’ disciples, we need to leave the comfort of our Christian bubbles and “welcome sinners and eat with them”. This requires us to go where sinners are, be their friends, and genuinely care for them. When we truly love people far from God and they know how much we care for them individually…they will be attracted to Jesus through our compassion!