Luke 15:1-32 -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.”
The Pharisees complain that Jesus receives sinners and eats with them. Sinners – undesirables, drunks, lawbreakers, Sabbath breakers, adulterers, people who are unclean due to some impurity or disability. People who have married in violation of the law, people born out of wedlock … . Jesus receives them and eats with them.
Can there be anything more glorious than this? The invitation to eternal life is an invitation to dine with God.
Rev. 3:20 – Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Rev. 19:9 – And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
In Luke 14:16-24 we see that we are commanded to invite people to our banquets who cannot repay us. Because that is what God has done for us.
Salvation is being invited to the banquet feast of God. The Pharisees got it exactly right. Jesus receives sinners and eats with them. And that is why we can say we are saved. What do we do to remember that Jesus came and died for us? We eat together. And what do the bread and the wine represent? Jesus Himself. He is the banquet and we are all invited. This should make our hearts sing.
Does this make your heart sing? Does this not stun you? Should this not stun us? God, the Creator of the universe and all that it contains. God, who needs nothing from us. God, who is more glorious than we can ever imagine, whose greatness is beyond finding out, who knows the end from the beginning, whom the animals look to for their food, who causes the grass to grow, who created all that is and sees to it that it holds together. This God says – “Come and dine with Me”. And we think it a small thing.
We think He is being harsh if He doesn’t do things the way that we think He should. We accuse Him of multiple crimes against US while we are busy running away from Him and disobeying Him and slandering Him. And He comes to the church of Jesus Christ, the people He has saved and purchased for His own possession and says “I am knocking at your door – Let Me in!! We will eat together and fellowship together and enjoy one another’s company”.
This man receives sinners and eats with them. And that should just make our hearts sing. It should just make them burst. What is wrong with us? We look around and see the trinkets and dazzle of the world and think that this is better than what our Creator has to offer? Are we completely insane? Why does this not make us sing? Why does it not make us live holy lives? Why does this not change us more into the image of Jesus Christ? J.B. Phillips concluded that it is because our God is too small. Not that God is small – but in our estimation He is not very big. Perhaps it is because we grow used to the words of the Gospel. The concepts of grace and mercy and forgiveness and love of God toward us has grown familiar while at the same time not grabbing our hearts. And while God grows small and the words of the Gospel grow ordinary, we grow big. We buy into the concepts about life that constantly assault us. We start believing that we really aren’t so bad. Our sins are small and though we know we are saved by mercy, we also seem to think that it does not take a great deal of mercy to save us. We forget, in some manner, that my little sins demanded the cross if I was ever to be forgiven. We start believing that grace means that we can live as we please – which it does – but for some reason we seem to be absent of the grace that changes our pleasures. And these things – a small God, an ordinary Gospel and a large view of ourselves conspire together to blind us to the glories of the Gospel at work in us. This should terrify us.
But how good is it that we have all that we need for life and godliness. We can grow to know Him better. We can, by His continuing grace at work in us, make real progress in holiness and understanding of what He has done. We can grow more stunned at unmerited favour. We can, through the things that God has given us, grow into a more accurate and moving understanding of God. We can grow into a more accurate understanding of ourselves. We can have our eyes opened to the stunning wonders of the Gospel and never lose our passion and truly prefer righteousness to the counterfeits that the tempter throws our way. The One in us is greater than the one in the world and the one on the world is a defeated foe and we do not have to follow such a loser.
Jesus receives sinners and eats with them. I am one of them and I pray that I will grow more and more stunned at what He has done, what He is doing and what He has promised to do, as I grow up in the faith. Thank you Lord for the invitation to dinner at my house. Thank you for enabling me to see the glory of it. Help me to grow more passionate about this great Gospel that eternity will be unable to make me fully appreciate.