Saturday, 24 October 2015

Sinners - Sunday 18th October 2015

Jesus had something of a reputation for fraternising with ‘sinners’. The gospel writers leave it to our imaginations who these people were; it isn’t difficult to imagine.
He lived in a culture where hospitality was taken very seriously. If you ate in someone’s home, you were accepting the bonds of friendship, and they were automatically welcome to come and eat (or stay) in your own home, at any time. So, when Jesus ate with ‘sinners’, he was not just spending a few hours with them, he was immersing himself in their social circle, and letting them know that they were equally welcome in his. This sent shivers down the spines of the ‘respectable’ people, but it was Jesus’ way.
These people were also loved by God. And Jesus showed them that by spending time with them in their homes, and eating with them.
Two millennia later, the Christian church has a habit or being too much like the 'Pharisees', and not enough like Jesus. We have acquired a reputation for being judgmental and rejecting where we should be welcoming and forgiving.
The whole point of God’s forgiveness is that it is for sinners. As followers of Jesus, we need to be as welcoming to ’sinners’ as he was.

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