“Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, ‘This Man receives sinners and eats with them.’” (Luke 15:1-2 NKJV)
Wisdom through the ages warns people to be careful of the company they keep. Did you ever have a parent, or a teacher warn you that “birds of a feather flock together?” In many areas of the world, the law will hold you accountable for the company you keep and if you’re with the wrong people when they commit a crime, you’ll suffer the same penalty as they do. We all recognize this and warn others to be careful of the company they keep. Perhaps that will help us be a bit sympathetic towards the Pharisees when they expressed their shock that Jesus would keep company with sinners. The problem with the Pharisees, though, was that they were so self-important that they didn’t think anyone else was worthy of attention – especially from a religious teacher. Jesus conquered their objections when He talked about the one sheep who had gone astray and needed the shepherd to look for him. He blew their arguments away when He told the story of the spendthrift son who ran back home, hat in hand, hoping to be pitied enough to get a job, only to have a party thrown in His honor. Remember the attitude of the big brother? These “sinners” Jesus was dealing with were probably ordinary people who went to the synagogue occasionally, made their sacrifices at the Temple once in a while, and were just trying to make a living. Jesus let them know that God loved them and most likely changed their lives.
How’d the day go? Who’d you spend time with today? Or maybe, you wonder about yourself and if God could really love you? Whatever you’ve done, God knows, and God forgives. He’s searching for you and waiting for you to come back to Him. If that’s how He deals with us, and with other people, can we do any less. Spend time with people who need to know that God loves and cares for them. The rest of the world may look down on them, but we can show them God’s love.
Lord, remind me of the beauty of Your creation in the people I see. Help me to show Your love to people who need it the most. Let me be an example of Your love to others.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.