Tuesday, November 15

Friend of sinners

Scripture: Job 1-2, Psalm 132, Luke 15

Luke 15:1–2 All the tax collectors and sinners were approaching to listen to him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Observation

The religious leaders complained, grumbled that Jesus welcomed and ate with sinners. The only other use of this Greek word for complain in the NT is in Luke 19:7 of the townspeople who grumbled and complained that Jesus went home with Zacchaeus. Same thing: supposedly righteous people complained that Jesus hung out with the irreligious, with those who everyone agreed most needed Him! “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick,” said Jesus.

You would think that the religious would be thrilled to see sinners changing and someone like Jesus helping them. That is what Jesus expected, and that is clear in the stories He told in response to their complaints. Each story ends with rejoicing. 

      • When the lost sheep is found, the shepherd rejoices with friends and neighbors. 
      • When the lost coin is found, the owner rejoices with friends and neighbors. 
      • When the lost son is safely home, the father rejoices with his household—except for his eldest son who complains bitterly.

Jesus expected the righteous to rejoice at His concern for and friendship with the lost.

Application

I want to be more like Jesus and less like the Pharisees. 

Like Jesus, I want to be friends with lost and irreligious people—friendships that might make some of my religious friends grumble. “What is he doing?” I want those friendships to be redemptive.

Unlike the Pharisees, I don’t want to grumble and complain when I see others befriending the lost, or the lost moving toward Jesus. I want to rejoice at God’s grace and goodness. 

And finally, like Jesus, I don’t want to conform to the darkness to win the lost. I want to bring the light into the darkness, trusting it will attract those tired of the darkness. Jesus never compromised to attract and win sinners; He was Himself no matter who He was with, and that’s what attracted the lost.

 

Prayer: Lord, give me opportunities to befriend those who are far from You, those who religious people might want to avoid. And help me, like You, be a light that attracts those in darkness.