Are you gathering around and listening?

The Power of a Story:
Sinners Listened

Scripture Reading:  Luke 15:3-7

Key Verse: Luke 15:1-2

Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him.  2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Don’t you just love the sound of our printed verse for today – sinners gathered around Jesus.  What a great picture for our minds.  The Pharisees and teachers of the Law did not get it!  They actually thought they were insulting Jesus when they said, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

I’m sure it grieved Jesus’ heart to hear the leaders of God’s own people misunderstand the mission of the kingdom.  These Pharisees were the “church” at that time, as we would understand it.  The Jews were the ones who worshiped the only true and living God.  Their “father” was Abraham, called by God to start a great nation.  Somehow, along the journey, they had lost the “heart” of God and God’s concern for all people.

What does Jesus do with this criticism?  He tells a story!  “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep,” Jesus started the story by including them in it.  Jesus was a master storyteller.  Jesus continues by stating an obvious fact that they all knew very well: If one sheep wandered off, the shepherd would leave the flock and go after it.  Sheep were their livelihood; they could never afford to ignore the loss of even one!  When it was found, there would be great rejoicing.  Why?  Sheep were valuable!

What a powerful story—every single person matters to God.  The Pharisees got it; so do we.  Let’s live like it!

Father, thank you for seeing me as a valuable person!  Give me your eyes and your heart to see other people with such value!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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