Edith cared nothing for religion. But one Sunday morning she walked into a church near her apartment looking for something to satisfy her discontented soul. The text that day was Luke 15:1–2, which the pastor read from the King James Version: “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.”
That’s what it said, but this is what Edith heard: “This man receives sinners and Edith with them.” She sat straight up in her pew! Eventually she realized her mistake, but the thought that Jesus welcomed sinners—and that included Edith—stayed with her. That afternoon she decided to “draw near” to Jesus and listen to Him. She began to read the Gospels, and soon she decided to put her faith in Him and follow Him.
The religious folks of Jesus’s day were scandalized by the fact that He ate and drank with sinful, awful people. Their rules prohibited them from associating with such folk. Jesus paid no attention to their made-up rules. He welcomed the down-and-out and gathered them to Him, no matter how far gone they were.
It’s still true, you know: Jesus receives sinners and (your name).
Heavenly Father, we can’t thank You enough for the radical love of Your Son, who drew all of us outcasts and moral failures to Him, and made the way for us to come to You in joy and boldness.
God pursues us in our restlessness, receives us in our sinfulness, holds us in our brokenness. Scotty Smith
The parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:1–7) is the first in a series of parables about lost things. It’s followed by the parable of the lost coin (vv. 8–10) and the parable of the lost son, better known as the prodigal son (vv. 11–32).
Although each of the parables is about something lost, there’s also something in each that isn’t lost—the sheep safe in the pen, the remaining coins, and the elder son at home. Yet the shepherd, the woman, and the father are not content with what they have; their concern is for that which is lost.
Is someone in your life lost and waiting to be found by the Savior? Whom can you trust to God’s loving and searching ways?