Little Edith came home from Bible School all excited because she found out that her name was in the Bible. Her parents told her that this was not the case. She persisted saying, "the teacher read the passage that says, Jesus receives sinners and edith with them".
When Jesus ate with sinners, the Pharisees and scribes grumbled. They thought this association with sinners was out of place. Especially for a Jewish rabbi. How could He be holy if He was with the unholy? This is what led Jesus to tell the three parables recorded in Luke 15. In one of these stories the shepherd leaves the ninety nine sheep to search for the one that was lost. When he finds the lost sheep he rejoices. In another story a woman searches for a lost silver coin. When she finds the coin she rejoices. Then there is the story of the prodigal son. The son leaves home and is in the process of losing everything when he decides to come back home. The father is so glad to see his son coming home that he runs to meet him and a feast of rejoicing follows.
All three stories have one point. Something that the Pharisees and scribes needed to hear. Something that we all need to hear. God loves sinners. Jesus came to save sinners. He came to teach sinners. He came to die for sinners. He established the church for people who were once lost in sin. He went to prepare a place in heaven for people saved from sin.
Basically, God wants us to know that no matter what we have done, He wants us to come home. He sent Jesus to show us that this is true. So Jesus spent time with people who had lost their way in life. He lived and spoke to reveal a better way than what we could possibly know on our own. One might say that these three parables tell us of the heart of God. To miss this is to miss the very core of His teaching. No doubt it saddens God when we miss the point. Just as it saddens God when sinners refuse Him. But what great rejoicing there is in heaven when just one sinner decides to make a change. The Father is anticipating that change, He desires it so much that He is like the father in the story who ran to meet his son who was coming home. He is just hoping and waiting for you to make the same decision.
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