Lost people and the Church
V1 Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering round to hear him.
V2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them.”
V3 Then Jesus told them this parable …
V8 “Or suppose …
V11 Jesus continued …
The religious saw those around Jesus as sinners and they had probably just reason for doing so. There were people who collected taxes for the Romans who were oppressing God’s people and making a living out of it. Then there were others who were so distanced from ever being able to be accepted by God either because of their lifestyle or background.
The religious were offended and angry not only with the lost but with the One who was seemingly enjoying being with them and at the same time claiming to be sent from heaven to do so. They were in fact protecting God from such incredulous impure connection. God is holy.
Three stories from Jesus.
Sheep, coin and a son. All three were lost and all are found in different ways. Jesus is responding to the criticism of being focused on the lost with these parables. Jesus doesn’t say they are not lost. He is not just welcoming everyone into the Kingdom without the need to follow him. The parties, celebrations and rejoicing come after the repentance. They are lost and he has come to lead them.
The challenge for the Church and Christians who are trying to be like Jesus today is this:
Who is gathering around us that results in such criticism?
Who are the ‘lost’ today?
What stories do we have to tell that explain why we spend more time reaching lost people than spending time with those who think they are righteous?