Near :: Five Minute Friday {www.boldlytanya.com}

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“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” (Luk 15:1-2 ESV).

//These scriptures convict me because often, I am like the Pharisee. I judge people. I try to assess whether they are worthy of my company or my children’s company. I don’t think I am the only one. I think Christians as a whole are guilty of being too elitist. I can’t possibly associate with that person. They aren’t like me.

But this is the opposite of Jesus. He recognizes the sin in all of us, different as it may be, yet equal in offensiveness to Christ’s holiness. Food addiction is just as reprehensible as drug addiction. Adultery is just as repulsive as homosexuality. All are sins and all have sinned. But Jesus does not turn away. He chases us. These quoted scriptures are the preamble to the parable of the lost sheep. The shepherd leaves the 99 in search of the one, and when found, he invites anyone who will hear, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep who was lost” (Luke 15:6).

These quoted scriptures are the preamble to three parables about lost things: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Each parable is nuanced in the way each owner reacts to what is lost. The shepherd leaves the ninety-nine in searchc of the one. The widow stops everything, lights her lamp, and scours her home looking for the lost coin. The father kept watch waiting for his son to return. But the response of each is the same. They call everyone they know saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep/coin/son that/who was lost” (Luke 15:6, 9, 22-24).

Am I seeking the lost, or am I too afraid to associate with them? Do I act like their sin is going to rub off on me, or contaminate Saving Grace? Or do I draw near to them knowing Christ is in me waiting to do a life changing work?//