Luke 15:1–10 – “Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 So he told them this parable: 4 “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. 8 “Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.””
Summary – The ministry of Jesus showed compassion on those who were known to be sinners, such as low-life tax collectors and prostitutes. This caused those who thought they were righteous, the Pharisees and the scribes, to look down on Jesus and judge Him. Jesus explained that bring the lost back to God and seeing them desire to know God was the essence of joy in heaven. He did not come to save the “righteous” but sinners.
Insight – Have you ever looked down on someone because of the way they dress or because they do things you disapprove of? Perhaps you reason that, “Since I am a Christian, I don’t dress like that or do that.” While it may be true that “as a Christian I don’t dress like that or do that,” don’t make the mistake of thinking that makes you more righteous and so you can sit in judgment over them. Our righteousness is like filthy rags before God. Only being “in Christ” by faith causes God to see us through the righteousness of Jesus. What kind of righteousness did Jesus have? He had the kind that looked with compassion and mercy on those that were obviously destroying their lives with sin. This is the kind of righteousness that Jesus had: grace, mercy and compassion. When we judge others because we think we are more righteous (of ourselves), we are doing just what the Pharisees did.
Catechism – What brings the greatest joy in heaven? One sinner who repents.
Discussion – Do you have anyone in your life that constantly judge as “in sin”? What kind of attitude should you have toward them?
Prayer – Persistently forgiving God,
we are a stiff-necked and stubborn people
who try your patience;
yet, instead of giving us up for lost,
you seek us out until we return to you.
Break our willfulness
and bring us back from our wanderings;
bend our pride and create in us pure and faithful hearts,
which rejoice in your forgiveness
made known through Jesus Christ. Amen.