This Man Welcomes Sinners
Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people--even eating with them! Luke 15:1-2
Jesus drew many people to Him. His words were clear, fresh, powerful, and filled with grace. On this particular day, the majority of the crowd consisted of known sinners. A prostitute stood by a thief. An alcoholic listened with an adulterer. Tax collectors, men who had sold out to the Roman government that was oppressing Israel, were there as well. And tax collectors had their own special designation in the category of sinners.
The religious leaders had many problems with Jesus. And they were particularly irritated when he engaged people they viewed to be the scum of the earth. Luke says that when they saw the crowd of sinners around Jesus they said with disdain in their voice, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." In this statement was the not-so-subtle allegation that Jesus was a worthless man since He hung out with worthless people. In response to their accusation Jesus told three parables, each pointing to God's great grace.
When was the last time you welcomed sinners?