Summary: Jesus associates with sinners and EVEN EATS with them!!!

February 20, 2021

The Context:

Tax Collectors and other "sinners" wanted to be around Jesus and listen to what He had to say. Pharisees and Teachers of the Law also gathered around Jesus, but for a very different reason – He was dangerous. On one particular occasion, Jesus, Tax Collectors, other run-of-the-mill sinners and the religious elite, were all together in one place and the “elites” began to complain, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."

I mean, seriously, any good, self-respecting church leader would never be caught dead with that particular class of people. The “righteous” and sinners must never mingle!

Jesus, on the other hand, never seemed to mind. In fact, hanging out with sinners, rather than saints, was exactly what He wanted to do and now was the perfect time to tell a few stories:

The Parable {Luke 15:4-32}:

Suppose one of you has a 100 sheep and you lose 1 of them. Don’t you leave the 99 and go after the lost sheep until you find it? And when you find it, don’t you joyfully put the sheep on your shoulders and go home and call all your neighbors and invite them to a party because you found that 1 lost sheep? It’s like that in heaven and there is more rejoicing over 1 sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don’t need to repent.

Or suppose a woman has 10 silver coins and loses 1. Doesn’t she search the house carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, doesn’t she call her friends and neighbors and invite them to a party because the lost had been found? It’s like that in heaven. There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over 1 sinner who repents.

A man had 2 sons. The younger son asked for his inheritance and not long after he put everything he had in a suitcase, moved to a distant country and preceded to spend all his inheritance on wild living. He spent every last dime and then a severe drought came to the country --- the young man was in trouble. He was forced to get a job looking after pigs. He was hungry all the time and the food the pigs were eating began to look good, but no one was willing to help him. One day he finally came to his senses, “How many of my father's employees have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I’m going home. It’s time to admit that I have sinned. I realize that I am not worthy to be called his son, but maybe he’ll agree to take me on as an employee.” So, he got up and started the long journey home. He was still a long way from home, but his father, pacing at the end of the driveway, saw him and was filled with compassion. He hiked up his robes and ran toward his son and wrapped his arms around him in a long embrace. “Father”, he said, “I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am not worthy to be called your son.” But his father didn’t let him finish. Turning to a servant, the father said, “Quick! Bring the best robe I have and put it on him and bring my signet ring and some sandals as well. Prepare my best veal because I’m’ throwing a party!! My son was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found. PARTY!! Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came home, he heard music and dancing. He asked one of the servants what was going on and was told a party was being given for the brother who had returned home. This news angered him and he refused to join in the celebration. His father even went out to try and convince him to come in, but he answered his father, “All these years I've been slaving away for you. I have never disobeyed you and you never through a party for me! But when your son, the one who threw away your money on prostitutes, comes home, you throw a party for him” “My son,” replied the father, “You are my devoted son and everything I own belongs to you, and we had to celebrate because your brother, who was dead, is alive again. He was lost and has been found.”

The Lessons:

I’m going to tell you something about my mother…… She is directionally challenged. There’s no shame in it ---- lots of people are. As a small child I’d sit on the arm rest of the front seat of the car and give her directions. {turn left up here, etc.}

The first major argument my husband and I got into was over the necessity of using a map --- Him, yes. Me, no.

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