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Welcoming and Eating with Sinners

Luke 15:1-2

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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 NIV

Ritual cleanliness was a big deal for the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. The Old Testament Law stressed the need for being ritually clean when approaching God. It identified various ways in which a person could become unclean and how to become clean again. And one of those ways was simply to touch something that was unclean (Lev. 5:2-3).

The Pharisees and teachers of the law considered sinners and tax collectors–the people gathering around Jesus to hear what he had to say–to be unclean. In their minds, that would make Jesus unclean as well. And they could not understand why Jesus would be welcoming sinners and eating with them.

The three parables that follow are Jesus’ response to the Pharisees and teachers of the law, the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Each parable illustrated the rejoicing that takes place in heaven when one of these lost ones–the ones the Pharisees and teachers of the law rejected–was found.

How often are we like these Pharisees and teachers of the law? Keeping ourselves separate from those we might think of as unclean. Unwilling to touch them or have any other dealings with them.

Yet that is who Jesus came to seek and to save (Luke 19:10). And heaven rejoices when one of these lost ones is saved. So, who am I to judge someone as unworthy of God’s love? Rather than judging, I need to follow Jesus’ example and share his love. Even with sinners and tax collectors.

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Ed Jarrett

Just an old clay jar that God continues to see fit to use in his kingdom's work. I am retired, married with 2 children, and 4 grandchildren. I have followed Jesus for many years. And I love to share what He has given me from His word.

A Note to Readers

The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.

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