A Devotional Thought From Luke’s Gospel
Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. Luke 15:1, 2
One of the great criticisms of Jesus was this one: This man receiveth sinners.
The religious legalists could not get their heads around the fact that God did not feel the way about sinners that they did. They looked down on others who did not meticulously keep the laws set forth by the scribes as well as they, the legalists, did. They looked down on those who did not dress as well as they, the legalists, did every day. These were ordinary people who, if they were judged by ordinary civic standards, would come out being considered, for the most part, decent human beings. But they were not up to the “really religious” standards of those who saw themselves as the righteous ones, so the “righteous ones” considered them the low down dirt of the earth. Of course, some of them were: Roman tax collectors and collaborators, others, perhaps, liars, cheats, harlots, whatever, AND/SO even you, dear readers, think they deserved to not be received by Jesus, or at least his church, yet he received them. Aaaaghh!
Think back to the manger. Around Jesus was a mother who was self-proclaimed as one who needed a savior; an earthly father who had to be convinced that the sordid thought he had about his bride was wrong; shepherds who certainly were sinners of some sort at least by Pharisaical standards; wise men, or kings, if the tradition is true, who very likely were throughout their life time involved in the academic, or political, or occultic intrigue that would surround their occupations. In other words, the savior in the manger had sinners all around him even then!
The Pharisees missed the glory of Jesus, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). Sinners! BTW, they, the Pharisees, and us, we’re sinners. Thank God Jesus receives us!