Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. – Luke 15:1
Jesus crossed the chasm between pulpit and publican, between synagogue and “sinner.” Luke tells us that the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to Jesus. They were drawing near to hear Him.
Why? In Christ, God’s word went out with almighty power to create faith in the hearts of His listeners and change their lives. Christ, however, did not wait for them to enter the synagogue to hear His message. He went to them as the Word-made-flesh. He embodied among them the gospel as He preached in the middle of their mess. He did not condone their sin, but He cared deeply about them and they knew it. They drew near to Him because He drew near to them. They loved him because He loved them first (1 John 4:19).
What if Jesus had not crossed the chasm from His Father’s presence into our sinful mess? What if He had not become flesh to dwell among us? What if He had simply posted “Tax collectors and Sinners Welcome” on the sign outside heaven’s sanctuary and waited for us to walk through the doors?
We know the answer. Not one of us would belong to the family of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Not one of us would turn from idols that we crave to the One Who can satisfy and save.
Do you love the “tax collectors” and “sinners” in your life? Do you pray for them regularly? Do you seek opportunities to love them across the chasm?
Suggestions for prayer
Thank Jesus for crossing the chasm into our world to save us. Pray for specific people in your life that need to be saved.
Rev. Richard Zekveld is the pastor of the Covenant Fellowship Church (PCA) in South Holland, Illinois, a Chicagoland suburb. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.