A Phenomenal Statement
"Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him." Luke 15:1
If there was nothing else written about Jesus, this one verse alone would tell you something important. Thankfully, we do have a great deal else written so that we can put this into a better context, but this single verse is nevertheless phenomenal in what it tells us about Jesus.
1. Tax collectors and sinners--ie, the dregs of society at that time--were not afraid to come to Jesus.
2. They didn't feel condemned by him, as they would have by a Pharisee, for example.
3. They didn't feel so ashamed that they wanted to hide.
4. He caught their interest, and gave them hope. Why else would they go near an evidently religious person? Someone who would never be a compatriot in their deeds or lifestyle?
Contrast this to how these same people would behave around a Pharisee or Sadducee. These men were the "elite" of the Jewish faith. Their desire was to be seen and acknowledged as the holiest, the most reverent men of their time. They were the ultimate in respectability.
Sinners and tax collectors would most likely cower in their shadows, if not hide outright if they were seen approaching. Not that the Pharisee would bother to notice them, of course, because such people were not worth his trouble. If he did notice the sinner, he'd most likely bestow a sneering glare of disdain before turning away.
Jesus felt differently.
Somehow, he communicated this.
He appealed to them.
He loved them.
Do you know a "tax collector or sinner?" Are you showing love towards that person?
Maybe you ARE that person.
If so, come near to Jesus. He promises to never turn away anyone who seeks him. Anyone.
He does love you--just the way you are!
Does He expect you to change? Not without his help!
That's good news, people.
If you have a minute, scroll down and let the first song on my music list speak to your heart.
("How Deep the Father's Love.")