How will you respond?

Luke 15:1-2; 6-7; 31-32
Luke 15 is one of my favorite passages of scripture. I love this chapter. I truly feel like in this chapter is all of mankind. In this chapter I’ve found hope and great conviction. I pray that you will be encouraged by this passage as I have.

1. State of hearts. In verses one and two you see who is in the crowd. This is truly important to the rest of the story. First we see that tax collectors and sinners are in the crowd. Tax collectors were truly terrible people. They help fund the terrorist nation that was oppressing their people. This was true treason. Sinners were not like we think of sinners today. These were people of terrible reputation and ill repute. These people were Drawing near to hear Him. Keep that in mind when you read the story. They are being drawn to Jesus. Also in the crowd was Pharisees and the scribes. These were the religious elite. Look what it says about them, they grumbled. Friends, we’ve all been Pharisees at times, but this is a terrible way to be. Pharisees are always looking for ways to criticize, they are always negative. They don’t want to celebrate, they want to criticize and gossip. If you find yourself being a Pharisee or scribe today, I pray that you would repent. You are missing so much joy!

2. True Friends. Here is something that I’ve thought about at length. In verse 6 and 7 we see true friendship. Do you know how you can tell true friendship? A friend will mourn with you, but a true friend will celebrate with you. True friends celebrate with you. They are excited when you are excited. Pharisees will try and talk down your celebration. You know people like that, you are excited about something and immediately they want to try and tell you why you shouldn’t be excited, they find something wrong. This was the type of people that wanted to take away the joy of those listening to Jesus. Sinners and Tax Collectors were drawing near to Jesus and the Pharisees and scribes wanted to rob them of their joy.

3. Repent and celebrate. If like me you’ve found yourself on both sides. You’ve found yourself being a Pharisee, I urge you to read the last two verses of chapter 15. Repent of this. Know that what you think when you don’t celebrate with the lost being found, repent and know what God is doing. You find yourself opposing the work of God. No one wants to be found in that spot. Repent and celebrate. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself having to repent and celebrate. Every believer will wrestle with being the older brother in the story. The question is will you settle with staying outside of the celebration or will you come in? Jesus leaves it like that for a reason, how will you respond?

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