Read Luke 15 – I had to catch my breath at verse 1, “Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach.” It made me think of the late pastor Chuck Smith. Once upon a time, church was a place where you put on your Sunday best and behaved. He made church a place where the barefoot and broken could come and hear about our wonderful Savior, who leaves the ninety-nine sheep to search for the one(:4).
The Word of God has the power to change a person; even the hardest of hearts can crack as love becomes a light. We see three instances of great joy in our chapter – joy for the lost sheep who was found – joy for the lost coin that was recovered like a lost sinner who repents – and joy for the wild, rebellious, disrespectful son who came home. All three are cause for great celebration on earth and in heaven. Beloved, Jesus holds no grudges when a sinner repents. When the lost are found, there is only joy and celebration!
We also see the tragedy of the ‘good son’. His heart was hardened and he was angry that there was a celebration for his brother who squandered his inheritance and abandoned the family…. Like the Pharisees in complaint that Jesus would associate with such sinful people(:2).
Beloved, bitterness and unforgiveness is just plain ugly. It will rule your heart and keep you from joy. Notice the father left the celebration to pursue him(:28).
Will you pray today: Search me Jesus, and show me any root of bitterness or unforgiveness that you see – that I may confess it and be clean? May nothing in my life hinder your joy from shining through me. Amen 🏳🤲🙏💘🙏🤲🏳