Take a moment to open this time in prayer. Ask God to bless you as you read and reflect on the text.
Read Luke 15: 1 - 2
Luke Chapter 15 is well known for the three parables contained in the chapter – especially the parable of the Prodigal Son. However, the two verses at the very beginning of the chapter should not be overlooked. In these two verses the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around Jesus. Now the tax collectors and sinners were obviously looked down upon. They were not welcome by the usual religious teacher and they were thought to not be acceptable to God. Still these people were all gathering around Jesus, they were drawn to Jesus and his message. Sadly, “the tax collectors and sinners” of our day often do not seem to gather around the church or even us personally. Hopefully, if we pay more attention to these simple verses that can change and more people will hear about the love and grace of Jesus for all people.
Please use the following questions for more reflection.
In your opinion, who are “the tax collectors and sinners” of today’s world? Why do you think the tax collectors and sinners in the Bible passage were gathering around to hear Jesus?
Is the church of today a welcoming place for the “tax collectors and sinners,” of our day? Why not? Has the church lost the radical and gracious message of Jesus?
How can you bless the modern day tax collectors and sinners? How can you bring the message of Jesus to them?
Closing - Use the prayer below to end the devotion or close in prayer in your own words.
Gracious Heavenly Father, these are powerful verses that I may have overlooked in the past. I confess that at times I am more like the Pharisees in this passage than I care to admit. Lord, I thank you so much for the grace and love that I have received from you even though I am a sinner. Help me to be a dispenser of love and grace to everyone in this world – even people who make me feel uncomfortable. Amen.