Luke 15:1-7 (NKJV) Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So He spoke this parable to them, saying: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 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 which was lost!’ 7 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.

The teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ even attracted tax collectors, and others who were openly sinners. Although Jesus rebuked their sins, they somehow acknowledged that He was right. They admitted that they were sinners, and they repented from their sins. And Jesus bestowed upon them forgiveness. The religious leaders resented the fact that Jesus received these sinners. Because, most assuredly, these Pharisees and scribes did not show grace to these sinners. And they absolutely with great hatred resented the fact that Jesus forgave their sins. But this is what Jesus came to do, it was His purpose. Jesus came to pay the penalty for our sins. It was God’s plan of salvation all the long, even before Creation. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 NKJV). Certainly, Jesus receives you and me, and all sinners who would repent of their sins and come to Him. Jesus told the parable of the lost sheep in answer to the accusation of the Pharisees and the scribes. The shepherd in this parable is the Great Shepherd, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And we are the sheep. We came into His flock when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. But we are not free from temptation as we still live in the world. And we may get lost in the world. But Jesus, our Great Shepherd, goes out looking in the world for those who are His own. And when He finds us, He puts us on His shoulders, a place of strength. Now, the religious leaders could understand what Jesus was saying. Because the High Priest wore an ephod on his shoulders. On the ephod were two stones and engraved on these stones were the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, six tribes on one stone and six on the other. It symbolized that the High Priest carried the children of Israel on his shoulders. And so, the Pharisees and scribes knew that Jesus was saying that He is the Great High Priest who carries on His shoulders all who are His own. All who belongs to Him will not be lost. The parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son were aimed directly at these religious leaders. They were too prideful to admit their lost condition, although they were as lost as the tax collectors and all those who were openly sinners. But the Pharisees and scribes were too arrogant to admit their sinful disposition. My friends, God receives real joy when sinners repent and turn to Jesus for salvation. But those who are self-righteous and too proud to admit their sins are already condemned.

God Bless and have a great day in God’s Word.