Wednesday, January 15

Notorious sinners

Scripture: Genesis 37-38, Psalm 7, Luke 15

Luke 15:1–2 Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. 2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!


These two verses set the stage for Jesus’ response to Pharisees and teachers of the religious law.  His response was to tell three famous stories about a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son—each of which shows God’s love and concern for lost people.  

“Notorious sinners” often came to listen to Jesus, and He seemed to enjoy hanging out with them. 


This raises two big questions for me.

First, what was it about Jesus and His teaching that attracted these people?  Normally, “notorious sinners” are not drawn to the religious and their teaching.  Maybe Jesus was not religious in the traditional sense.  Jesus didn’t soften or compromise the truth; some of Jesus’ teaching seems harsh and difficult (enter the narrow door).  On the other hand, much of Jesus’ teaching was filled with grace (like these 3 stories).  Somehow, the unconvinced were attracted to Him.

I wish my teaching drew more “notorious sinners.”  What would I need to change to attract and retain them?

Second, Jesus obviously spent considerable time with these notorious sinners, even eating with them.  I spend very little time with the unconvinced.  Because of my job, I live in a Christian bubble most of the time.  In this way, I’m very unlike Jesus. 

What can I do to change that, to spend more time with people who are still far from God?

Prayer: Lord, make me more like you—in my teaching and in my friendships.