What we celebrate says a lot about us.
Celebrating a wedding reveals your love of love. Celebrating a touchdown reveals your love of sports … and that you’re not a Cleveland Browns fan! What we celebrate reveals who we really are. Jesus celebrated when lost people were found.
When I say “lost people,” I’m simply saying that the person is not where he or she is supposed to be. Lost people are supposed to be with Jesus for all eternity. The sad thing is that so many in this world have no idea they’re lost. They are like the boy who was with his parents at the mall. Somehow he and his parents got separated. His parents looked desperately but couldn’t find him anywhere. Finally, a security guard found the boy. When the boy’s parents arrived, they found their son having a grand time. But when his parents called his name and he saw their faces, the boy started to cry. He didn’t realize he was lost until he was found.
It’s up to us to let lost people know that God wants them back where they’re supposed to be. And there are a lot of people who are not where they are supposed to be. Jesus came to this earth, lived a sinless life, died on a cross and rose again so that every one of those lost people would have the chance to be back where they’re supposed to be. It was his obsession. As he said in Luke 19:10, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
The Pharisees and teachers of the law didn’t understand Jesus’ passion for lost people. Luke 15:1 says it was the “tax collectors and sinners [who] were all gathering around to hear Jesus.” Today it seems most “sinners” run from Christians, but Jesus was different. They wanted to be around him because he wanted to be around them.
Lost people are just looking for hope. Some are looking for it in the pursuit of wealth, pleasure or physical perfection. Jesus gave sinners hope because he welcomed them. It wasn’t an act; it wasn’t to get a gold star or to check something off his spiritual to-do list. No, Jesus really loved lost people, which had a strange effect on the Pharisees. Luke wrote, “The Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them’” (Luke 15:2).
The word mutter is a sad word. Muttering flows out of a bitter heart. Sometimes when we live in faithfulness to Jesus, it causes others to mutter—but we can’t worry about their muttering. We must simply obey Jesus and move on. I hope that, like Jesus, I don’t let anything keep me from finding as many lost people as possible and celebrating with joy each time I find them.
Arron Chambers is the lead minister of Journey Christian Church in Greeley, Colorado. He is a contributing editor for Christian Standard and an inspirational speaker. Taken from Eats with Sinners: Loving Like Jesus by Arron Chambers. Copyright © 2017. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.