I was sitting in church last Sunday evening and the preacher was speaking from Luke 15 about the Prodigal Son. These words of the Pharisees in verse 2 really popped out at me and just started a train of thought. It has taken me a while to put this together but here it is:
“This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.”Luke 15v2 KJV
This Man is Jesus. Here are a few examples of sinners Jesus received:
Woman Anointing Jesus Feet
This passage relates the account of the sinful woman anointing Jesus’ feet in the home of Simon the Pharisee. She was despised and her actions were misunderstood BUT Jesus could see into her heart. He saw her faith and understood that she had been forgiven much and therefore she loved much.
To put this scene into modern life: just imagine yourself visiting in the home of a very good-living respectable friend. You are enjoying a scrumptious meal when in walks a well known prostitute of the area and she makes a beeline for you. She gets down at your feet, takes off your shoes and socks, cries over your feet and wipes them with her beautiful long hair. Then she proceeds to kiss them and anoint them with expensive sweet-smelling perfume. Some could see this as a seductive scene and others may despise her for what she is. You are embarrassed for you are not wanting people to think that that’s the sort of company you keep.
Now I am not suggesting that you should mar your testimony or unadvisedly put your children’s safety at risk or damage your marriage relationship. But I am asking you to think about your heart attitude. Can you really look at the vilest of sinners and see them as lost souls whom Christ can transform into the purest of saints?
The Woman at the Well
Here we read how graciously Jesus dealt with the woman at the well. He was a Jew and she was a Samaritan. The Jews and Samaritans hated each other. She had come at noon for water to avoid meeting the other women in the morning. It was not the done thing in their culture for a man to be alone talking to a woman.
Here’s a modern scenario: You are sitting in a quiet part of a shopping mall minding your own business and along comes a woman who is not from your particular political, religious or cultural background. This woman has had 5 marriages that ended in divorce and now she is living with a man who is not her husband. This used to be called ‘living in sin.’ But this woman has come for a quick shop to buy some basic necessary food and drink for her partner and her children. She’s come at a time when she can avoid meeting even her own people for she knows they despise her for her lifestyle. She is broken and sad and longing for happiness and true peace in her life. You know that her real problem is the thirst in her soul that only Christ can satisfy, so you take time to speak kindly to her. Then your friends see you and you know they are thinking, ‘What’s he talking to her for?’
The wonderful thing is that Christ can open her eyes and understanding to see her need and cause her to accept Him as the Only One who can truly satisfy her soul thirst. But are you willing to sit in a public place and gently and graciously point her to Christ? Or would you prefer to talk about her behind her back because of the life style she’s chosen?
Woman taken in Adultery
Notice how graciously Jesus dealt with this woman. He did not condone her sin but he did not condemn her. He could see the hypocrisy of the Pharisees for they brought the woman but not the man. He told them Let him that is without sin cast the first stone. He told her to go and sin no more.
OK here’s a modern day scenario: A wife comes home to find her husband in bed with another woman. The wife explodes with hurt and anger and the marriage breaks down. Can’t you just hear the gossips, especially the men, once they get the news? Perhaps saying things like ‘slut’ or ‘she went in and broke up the marriage.’ But hey, hang on a minute. It takes two to tango! Why is it not too bad for men to be unfaithful but terrible for a woman? And just remember Jesus distinctly warned men about lusting after a woman (Matthew 5v28).
So, while adultery is a sin against God, breaking the seventh commandment (Exodus 20v14), and as such it needs to be repented of and turned from, yet remember the words of Jesus to let him that is without sin cast the first stone. Don’t show hypocrisy when dealing with those who commit adultery. Christ still receives sinners today and adulterers are included!
This passage is about little Zacchaeus the tax collector getting to meet Jesus. He was not liked because he worked for the Romans and he extracted more money from the people than he was meant to take. But Jesus could see his penitent heart.
Now I know that because of modern records and technology, it not as easy today to extract more tax than required but people still hate having to pay tax! However, just think of this: You are struggling to pay your household bills to keep a roof over your head, clothes on your back and food in your stomach. It is hard to make ends meet after your tax, rates and insurance are paid but the person down the street is living off and prospering from dishonest gain. Maybe you have been embezzled or fallen prey to some con tradesmen or been caught in some online fraud scam, so you know what it feels like for someone to exploit you for dishonest gain. But then to crown it all, you walk into church and see the dishonest businessman from down the town, being taken by the hand by the elders, sitting up front, and everyone thinks he is a great guy just because he has money! This just sticks in your throat.
However, note when Jesus saved Zacchaeus he was a changed man. Zacchaeus restored fourfold to those he had stolen from. That’s called restitution and it’s maybe not practiced much today BUT when God saves us He expects us to seek to make things right where we have wronged people.
Man brought through the Roof
This man needed healing and his four friends brought him to Jesus. They went to extraordinary lengths to get him to Jesus. Just imagine having the roof of your house taken off to get someone in! But Jesus saw their faith. This man needed healing but Jesus dealt with his far greater need first. Jesus forgave this man’s sins before He healed him.
Healing is a complex and controversial subject. Yes, God can heal and does heal but can you not see that people’s greatest need is spiritual? They need their sins forgiven. Often people want the body healed but do not see their spiritual need. Do you care about their souls? What are you doing to get that message out?
Luke 8v2; Mark 16v9; John 20v11-18
Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary Magdalene. As a result, she truly loved the Lord. She followed Jesus to the cross when even His disciples scattered. She was the first person to see Him after His resurrection. Many other people who came to Jesus on earth were not just ill or in some need. They were demon possessed. Once they were delivered they loved and served God.
Demon possession is real and there is much demonic activity in the world today. I am no expert on dealing with demon possession but I do know that there is a difference between mental illness and demon possession….and I do know that Christ is all-powerful and He holds all power to cast out demons. Demons must fear and flee.
When you look around you and see the depths to which some sinners have sunk, do not look down on them. Remember the words ‘There but for the grace of God go I.’ Think about their souls. Christ can still heal, forgive, restore and cast out demons. He is still in the business of taking lives that are wrecked and ruined with sin, and changing them to live victorious Christian lives. Christ still receives all kinds of sinners.
This was originally posted 16th Apr 2018 on Google+