Over three decades ago I become interested in the Bible, having drank from the heavenly cup once, I have not been tired to drink more
A good bible student when he or she diligently examines this chapter will notice that the entire book talks about the heart and the mission of God for mankind, yea the world; it shows that none is righteous.
“As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one:” (Rom. 3:10)
Jesus again reiterates this fact that none is righteous, as long as we are in the flesh when he shares the parable of an incident that happened in the temple with his ardent followers.
“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
“I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
“I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luk. 18:9-14)
Since there is none righteous in the world and the righteous God desires righteousness before anyone could see him, the author of the book of Luke 15 tells us that God is constantly on mission to save the lost ones, imputing his righteousness on us. To achieve this, God has to leave his comfort zone to save sinners.
It is imperative to here in state that if anyone wishes to be saved, such a one needs to leave his or her comfort zones and selfish desires to be saved.
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor. 5:18-21)
Jesus in this book uses commonest works of their days to explain salvation unto the supposed righteous ones. He used agriculture (animal husbandry); business and inheritance for his explanation. Intriguingly those are still relevant in the world today.
The entire chapter of the book is centered on sinners, the mind and attitude of God toward sinners. In this chapter, we shall find 3 types of sinners:
1. A sinner who misses his or her way (strayed off sinners),
2. Misguided sinner as shown by the misplaced coin and
3. Deliberate sinner, a backslider.
In this article, I will want us to see some things about the first parable that is in Luke 15:1-7, which I called the unexpected Loss.
However, for my readers to have a full grasp of the first seven verses of chapter fifteen of the book of Luke, I shall like to explain the first two verses because it is pertinent to our understanding and grasping the message in this chapter, not exempting these verses, which deal with the first parable.
Accepting the Known Sinners
In verse one of this chapter, we shall discover that there are people who people then known to be known sinners, and those people were accepted by Jesus Christ to the amazement of the religious rulers of his days.
“Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.” (Luk 15:1)
The publicans in Greek is “τελώνης”, when romanticized it becomes telōnēs (phonetic spelling is tel-o'-nace) which means tax farmer, collector of public revenue. And sinners here in Greek is written as “ἁμαρτωλός” which when romanticized becomes hamartōlos (phonetic spelling is ham-ar-to-los') which means sinful, sinner.
The tax collectors here have been associated with sinners because of the way and manner they carry out their works. Even now that technology is being used to reduce crime and stealing of public funds yet those people still have means of maneuvering their ways to looting and diverting public funds into their pockets.
As they have been known like this then, people still look at those tax collectors today with double mind, doubting their possessions to have been acquired through genuine means.
People like this were labeled then to be known sinners and who the sanctimonious people of their days do not want to have anything to do with them.
“And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,” (Luk 8:1-2)
Other examples of such people during the days of Jesus Christ are those who are possessed of the spirits of the devil and those with the familiar spirits because Moses in the law given to them has told them that God says they should not have anything to do with such people other than killing them.
“A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.” (Lev 20:27)
We equally read of what King Saul did how he chased them out of the country when he was a leader and was in the right tune with God.
“Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.” (1 Sam 28:3)
These known sinners are those who walked and drew close to the Lord Jesus to hear him speak to them as he was doing this the religious leaders of his days were not happy with what he was doing talking with sinners, not hidden sinners but known sinners.
They have been expecting that Jesus Christ will send them off him, but he did not do that, he accepts them, does not send them off contrary to the righteous people’s expectations.
Dusts Were Raised
Verse two of this chapter makes us to know that Jesus’ action of welcoming, speaking and interacting with the people hit them hard and they started raising dusts on his action, began to murmur, doubting what he calls himself to be a teacher from the Yahweh.
“And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, this man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” (Luk 15:2)
Jesus accepts sinners and he is yet accepting sinners today, irrespective of how terrible sinners’ sins are, he will accept sinner if they can leave their sins and come to him.
It is we who are humans that are discriminating in our decisions and judgment, God is not discriminating, because those good deeds that we think we have he sees as filthy rags before him.
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isa 64:6)
Having seen God’s disposition to all humans from this verses, I shall continue with the brief exegesis in the next article.
© 2021 OLUSEGUN