than over ninety-nine decent people, who do not need to repent. What woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one, will not light a lamp, and sweep the house in a thorough search, till she finds the lost coin? And finding it, she will call her friends and neighbors, and say, ‘Celebrate with me, for I have found the silver coin I lost!’ I tell you, in the same way, there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.”
The gospel says that tax collectors and sinners were gathering around Jesus to listen to him. To some of the Pharisees and scribes this was quite scandalous. It was bad enough socializing with them but to share their food was unthinkable; they were unclean and one became unclean by sitting at the same table with them. To eat with people was a sign of recognition and acceptance; as far as the Pharisees were concerned these were immoral and unholy people. Being very intimate with them, the Pharisees and scribes confirmed their conviction and belief that Jesus was like them. In reply, Luke gives us three separate parables touching the same theme. We have two of them today. The third and most famous is the Prodigal Son. Each one is a picture of God’s attitude towards the sinner and it is very different from that of the Pharisee. These stories were told as Jesus’ response to the criticism of some scribes and Pharisees. He spent time in their company not because he did not mind what they did; on the contrary, his whole purpose was to affirm their dignity as persons and change them. But he could not do that at a distance. The only way is being with them as the best way of making them feel significant, accepted, and loved. Much of this is highly relevant for our Christian life today. There is probably a lot more of the Pharisee in our Christian hearts than we are prepared to admit. The challenge is on us to reach out to the sinner and to the lost.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2018