This morning I want to thank God and my followers reading this email and my blogs on a daily basis. God you have kept us in love and harmony and we are grateful for every gift You have bestowed upon us. My beloved in Christ pay close attention to this message and see where you are standing.
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
As the Gospel reading opens today, there is a joyful gathering happening, and Jesus is the host. People who had long lived in the shadows of society had stepped bravely out to come and sit at the feet of a rabbi. And this rabbi, Jesus, had warmly welcomed them. These people, who had long since left God and religion behind them, had seen something in Jesus that gave them the courage to come closer … to ask questions about God that others would never have listened to from their mouths … let alone answered. Yet Jesus engaged with them and taught them about God gladly.
Now you must know that when a rabbi in 1st century Israel was gathering disciples, top of his “don’t-even-go-there” list were tax collectors and “sinners”. Tax collectors were that despised class of wealthy Jews who had made their wealth by extorting exorbitant taxes from their fellow Jew on behalf of the oppressive Roman regime. “Sinners” was a general term applied to those who (in the opinion of the religious people) were so obviously sinful that you could see their offences a mile away. People like prostitutes, adulterers or petty thieves. No self-respecting rabbi would let such filth sit at his feet and be taught.
Yet here is Jesus honouring these scum by letting them sit at his feet like good religious students at the feet of a rabbi … and imparting to them His pearls of wisdom. Not surprising then that the Pharisees and teachers of the law “muttered” or, as the KJV says, “Murmured”. They grumbled and groaned. What did they complain? “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Are you surprised of the life of Jesus? Can you do different? Yes, because you may have made yourself high and lofty and cannot see your nose and you are lost in your self destruct.
Essentially their complaint was simply that Jesus was undiscerning about who He offered hospitality to. To ‘welcome’ them means: “Receives them in a tender manner; treats them with kindness; and does not drive them from his presence.”
To the religious bigots Jesus should have chased this rabble away and told them to come back once they had cleaned up their act, or better yet would chased them away for good after all the wickedness they had done.
And it was in response to the religious complainers that Jesus told this iconic parable … the one so often called, “The Parable of the Prodigal Son.”
You know the story well, and we just read it again.
It clearly has three (3) main characters, and today as I paused I want you to wonder who you relate to best. in the coming days. God bless you and have a nice day.