“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Him, but the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “this man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15: 1, 2 Jesus seemed to spend a great deal of His time talking to the outcasts of the world. The poor, the physical impaired, the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the Samaritans, the gentiles, and the sick all received His special attention. Even while on the cross Jesus promised paradise to the thief hanging next to Him. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, “then neither do I condemn you, go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8: 11 He healed the lame, gave sight to the blind, cast out demons and freed them from scorn and discrimination. Since the Bible says we are all sinners, I’m glad that Jesus loves us and takes the time to heal our broken hearts. I’m happy He didn’t leave us or abandon us because of our rebellious nature. Instead, He calls us His children and pours His love out for us through the proof of the cross.
When Jesus overhears the Pharisees and teachers criticizing the people He chose to eat with, He tells them a parable. “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says,’ rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'” Luke 15: 4-6 All lost souls need to be carried back to God on the shoulders of Jesus. I love the idea conveyed in this parable that we make Jesus so happy when He is able to find us and we let Him bring us back home.
So many of us are quick to blame God when things go wrong in our lives. We seem to think that we should be immune to any problem that could possibly pop up. Let’s be honest with ourselves, a good many of the problems we go through are of our own doing. We have free will and when we choose to do something stupid that turns into a nightmare, we are responsible for the consequences. I have a friend who was shot during a robbery. The young man who shot him had a choice that night. He chose to get his gun and go to the service station. He then chose to shoot my friend instead of just leaving with the money. Now that young man will spend the better part of his life behind bars because of a series of bad decisions, and those bad decisions almost cost my friend his life. What does God think about the young man who pulled the trigger that night and caused havoc in so many people’s lives? Jesus goes searching for him. He longs to find him and tell him he is loved and not forgotten. Jesus wants to put him on His shoulders and bring him home because He loves that young man every bit as much as He loves the man who was shot.
You and I are never too far away from God for Him not to come searching for us. We are the lost sheep of this parable and the prodigals who Jesus never gives up on. Nothing is further from the truth than the idea that God is to blame for our bad decisions. God’s heart breaks for us when He sees what we go through. How many times does He wish we would listen and turn away from wrong choices? Some of us repeat the same mistakes over and over, yet, God still comes searching for us, calling out our name, inviting us to come back home and He will never give up until He finds us.