Scripture Reading — Luke 15:1-7
"When he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home."
As Jesus told the parables of Luke 15, tax collectors and others were gathered closely around him. These were the people for whom Jesus had come-the "lost" who realized their "lostness"-and they couldn't get enough of Jesus! The Pharisees and teachers of the law were equally lost but were too self-assured and proud to see it. They stood apart from Jesus and the "sinners" as if the people were lepers and Jesus was a fool.
Did the repentant sinners see that their love for Jesus was actually a sign that God had found them? And did they know that the joy of the shepherd was a picture of God's joy?
How about the religious teachers? Would they ever see God as the One who welcomes repentant sinners with joy? Would they ever see Jesus as God's Son who came to save them?
In Luke 19:39 we get a clue. As Jesus made his way into Jerusalem, the Pharisees demanded that Jesus tell his cheering disciples to quiet down. They still hated Jesus. They would not love other sinners-repentant or otherwise-and they would not share the Father's joy.
Will you share the Father's joy? Will you rejoice with him over sinners like you who repent and return to him? Stand close to Jesus, in whom you are made righteous, and bask in the Father's delight over you.
<p>Give us daily repentance, Father, so that we too may stand close to Jesus and give joy to you! Help us to love others as we know you love us all. In Jesus' name, Amen.</p>