Lifelines June 09, 2019

Jesus came to save people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).  It was simply stated by angelic proclamation but easily forgotten.  His mission was not one of gathering up all of the righteous but reclaiming the wrecked, those who had been ruined by sin.  Sinners are a sloppy group.  They reflect the worst that is within us.  Self-centered rebels are not an attractive bunch, but they are who He came seeking.

They came looking for Him, too (Luke 7:36-50).  Simon the Pharisee had his highly refined sensibilities offended when a sinful woman crashed his dinner party and feel at the feet of Jesus.  This was, after all, a collection of the pure not the pitiful and she had a reputation.  She simply did not belong, but there she was emptying her perfume.  If Jesus only knew.  Oh, He did.  Folks like her are why He came.

Jesus was very familiar with what kind of woman she was, and He did not minimize that (Verse 47).  She was VERY sinful.  She knew it, too, so she sought the only one who offered salvation not condemnation.  Simon the Pharisee was the one who failed to see his own true colors.  She poured out her heart to the Lord.  He never even offered water for the Lord’s feet or oil for anointing.  Both had great need for forgiveness.  She recognized hers.  He did not.

Jesus did not come to condemn.  He came to offer a new beginning.  Critics never could quite grasp that.  They still do not.  He left the glory of heaven because humans are a combination of a willing spirit and weak flesh.  The weaker part of us wins out too often.  The Son of God was crucified because of weakness (2 Corinthians 13:4).  He did not come to weed out the runts of the litter but to give His life for us.  Now, it’s a matter of us facing up to our frailties.           

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  Those are the words of Jesus (Luke 14:35).  Immediately, we meet two distinct groups.  One was comprised of tax collectors (Ugh!) and sinners (Double ugh!).  The other was religious experts.  One used their ears to listen.  The other used their mouths to grumble.  Their complaint?  Jesus actually associated with sinners.  He didn’t reject and condemn them.  He ate with them.

He still does.  We assemble on the first day of every week to share the Lord’s Supper, and He is the unseen host.  We come in weakness with a history of sin.  He meets us with His cleansing mercy and forgiveness.  Jesus told Simon the Pharisee that much forgiveness prompts much love (Luke 7:47).  The simplicity of the unleavened bread and grape juice can be deceiving.  Our many sins have been forgiven.  He made that possible on an old rugged cross.  We remember and love for Him grows.