Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable … (Luke 15:1-3)
When there is good news it’s a great reason to celebrate.
It’s sad when other people don’t recognise that, but it doesn’t stop it from still being good news. You can see from Jesus’ perspective, then, that what the Pharisees and scribes were grumbling about highlighted how much they missed the good news and the reason to celebrate.
Three things of great value – a sheep for a shepherd, a coin for a woman and a son for a father. One item belonging to a whole that goes missing is a reason to feel disappointed. So to recover that which was lost and restore it to the whole is a reason to celebrate.
Consider then the perspective Jesus has on those who are usually maligned in society. While they are shunned by the religious elite, Jesus notices that as far as the human family is concerned it’s incomplete without them. Rather than continuing to ignore and ostracise them, it’s about delivering such a compassionate ministry of word and deed that those on the fringe recognise there is a lot of celebration that takes place when they are restored.
This remains a salutary lesson for the point of people who follow the good news of Jesus Christ – this is not exclusive to religious elites, it’s not reserved for the ‘worthy’ or the ‘socially acceptable’. This places the rightly incredible value God places on humanity – because they were made by Him, for Him. It’s a challenge to maintain that perspective when faced with the evils of humanity, but then we consider that the mission of Jesus even deals with the evils in our own heart.
For Jesus and for us, it should be a reason to celebrate when those from all walks of life choose to be a part of embracing the good news.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden