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.” ~ Luke 15:1-2
“This man welcomes sinners.” The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were aghast that Jesus would actually do something like this. They wouldn’t. They would do everything they could to steer clear of such people. Jesus, on the other hand, couldn’t do enough for sinners. He had a genuine love for the lost. It is that love for which I am thankful.
It would be easy to adopt the attitude of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. Certainly, I try to live my life in the best way possible. I try to be good, kind and understanding to all. There are times, however, when I only go so far. There are some people with whom I refuse to associate. As a matter of fact, I won’t even acknowledge them because they are not like me. I may even be tempted to think I am better than they are.
When I am tempted to believe I am better than others, Jesus opens my eyes to see that I am no different than the Pharisees and teachers of the law. How can I assume others are “worse” than me? I need to return to the truth that Jesus loves the lost. I also need to acknowledge that Jesus’ love for the lost started with me.
It is easy to forget that at one time I too was lost. I was just like every other sinner. I was disobedient, contemptible, and under God’s just judgment. It wasn’t until Jesus in his love for the lost rescued me. He searched for me. He found me. He cleansed me. He adopted me and made me an heir of heaven. His love for me as one of the lost didn’t come because I was better than anyone else. Nor did his love become mine because of all the wonderful things I would do. His love for me, as well as for everyone who is lost, is unconditional, unmerited, and undeserved.
There is no greater joy than to know Jesus loves the lost, and Jesus loves me.
O gracious and loving Savior, how can I ever thank you for your love! Your love rescued me when I was lost, and made me yours forever. Accept my thanks, my praise, and my devotion as the only gift I can give. Amen.