Summary: the Scribes and Pharisees were confused as to why Jesus spent so much time with Tax Collectors and Sinners! Jesus came to seek and save the lost and that mission is ongoing! Praise His Name!!!

I’m Looking For You

Please stand as we read our newest memory Scripture together …

John 14:23-24

“Jesus said, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our home with him.

“He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching. These words you hear are not My own; they belong to the Father who sent Me.”

And our memory refresher verse(s) for today is(are) …

John 14:6-7

“Jesus said, ‘I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.’”

Please open your Bibles to: Luke 15

The last couple of weeks we have been taking a look at Matthew 25 in light of the coming judgment when Jesus returns. In Matthew 24 the disciples ask Jesus about the timing of future events. In chapter 25 Jesus continues with His response.

Jesus uses two parables and a prophecy to get His point across. And the point is that the time of His return would be unknown and they would need to be found prepared and faithful when He DOES return.

In both of the parables and the prophecy Jesus made it clear that we MUST be prepared when He returns for when He returns our eternal destinies will be forever set.

As a side note: even though these teachings are in relation to the return of Jesus we need to realize that our eternal destiny is determined when we leave this life and pass into eternity.

All of this seems really harsh, doesn’t it?

But, today, we start taking a look at Luke 15 where we will see that Jesus is aware of each of our spiritual conditions and if you are lost He is seeking you!

We most likely will NOT read the entire 15th chapter of Luke at this time but just the first parable and perhaps the second parable later on so please keep your Bibles open.

With that in mind let’s read from God’s Word: Luke 15

May God bless the reading of His Word! (Prayer for help)

In the two opening verses we see a tension going on:

Luke 15:1-2

“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This Man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’”

Tax collectors had a reputation. They had a legitimate function; to collect taxes for the Roman government, or, in some cases, for King Herod.

To be a tax collector for Rome was considered treason in the eyes of many Jews. And, many of the tax collectors would gather more than they were required to collect. Many would extort more than was required by threatening to throw the person in jail. Then they would keep the excess for themselves.

It is no wonder they were despised!

The word sinners used in verse one is a general word that describes a person who lives a sinful life, especially those who did not follow all of the Jewish traditions.

The problem was that these tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around Jesus. They were coming near to Jesus and He was teaching them.

In Luke 18:11 we see an example of an attitude of superiority that was common among Pharisees of that time.

Luke 18:11

“The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people - robbers, evildoers, adulterers - or even like this tax collector.’”

The “teachers of the law” were Jewish scribes who would make manual copies of the Scriptures and because they were so familiar with the Mosaic Law they also served a function of rendering opinions in difficult cases of the Law.

It seems that often when Jesus would teach His disciples, the Jewish leaders would stand back and observe, so, as Jesus continued teaching the tax collectors and sinners, you can be sure that the Jewish leaders were listening in …

So, what did Jesus have to say?

Luke 15:4-7

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

Now, when you look at this many questions come to mind:

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