©Jeanne E Webster
Luke 15:1-7 Then all the publicans and sinners drew near to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and even eats with them.”
The Pharisees and scribes snipped among themselves that Jesus welcomed sinners into his company and ever ate with them. It was their custom that it was a grave sin to be in the company of sinners and dine with them.
Jesus saw and heard their displeasure and told them a story.
“What kind of person are you, having a hundred sheep but lost one of them, you don’t leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness and go looking for that lost one until you find it?
“When you found it you lay it upon your shoulders and rejoice. Returning home, you call your friends and neighbors together and tell them, ‘Celebrate with me, for I have found my lost sheep!’
I tell you, that in the same manner, joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons who need not repent of anything.”
Hear this story! It is unbelievable! The heavens rocked with joy the moment we were saved! Not only that, brothers and sisters, Jesus carried our spirits home and showed them off! “Look what I found, you saints and angels, I have found a lost sheep, a sinner who was aimlessly toiling along life’s pathway. He’s found–he’s home.”
Does that ever thrill the heart, waken the spirit, and liven the mind! “God, you really did love me, didn’t you?! You welcomed me, let me dine with others and made me part of the family. Took that Unclean sign off my shirt and replaced it with Family of God.”
Perhaps we’d been slinking around for years, dreading the moment people would recognize us as one who had messed up, thrown away the good years and given up on the best ones to come. We were ever ready for the finger-pointing—the accusations, she/he did this…he/she did that. SHAME ON HIM/HER! SHAME! SHAME!
Yes, Lord, we are here; we did all those things…and more. We stand here, head down, sweaty drops of poisoned shame dripping off our brow; our innards retching forth all the vile fears of discovery. We can see them now, the accusers. We can feel their hot vehement breaths on our backs; hear their click-click-spit-spit of the teeth as they describe each past detail.
Jesus walked over to us, gently touched our chins, nudging our heads upwards so his eyes met ours…
and turning to the angels and saints, He exclaimed,
“Rejoice with me! I have found this lost soul and she/he is now part of our family, the family of God. I’ve brought her/him home. Let us celebrate—a soul has come home at last.”