In Luke 15 we see that large crowds were following Jesus. Among this crowd was a smaller group of tax collectors and other sinners. They were considered the riff-raff of society, especially by the Jewish religious leaders. This group of tax collectors and sinners were pushing their way through the crowd in an effort to get close to Jesus. Why? Because in Jesus they found the only person they knew who was willing to befriend them. This angered the religious leaders who accused Jesus of being wrong because he was building bridges to such sinners.
As a result of these accusations, Jesus told some stories. He told the story of a lost sheep and he told the story of a lost coin. The story of the sheep connected Jesus with the men in the crowd and the story of the lost coin connected Him with the women in the crowd.
In the first story, a shepherd who has 100 sheep gets to the end of his day and discovers that he is missing one of his sheep. So what does he do? Even though he is tired and hungry he goes back out into the darkness to search for the lost sheep. And when he finds it he rejoices and asks all of his friends to rejoice with him.
In the second story, a woman loses one of 10 coins. So what does she do? She spares no expense seen in lighting a lamp and she spares no effort as she sweeps the whole house until she finds it. Then she rejoices and asks all of her friends to rejoice with her.
From these two stories Jesus shows us three reasons why He built bridges to the tax collectors and sinners. Here are two of the three reasons:
First, Jesus built bridges to sinners and tax collectors because they were lost and very valuable to God. In the first story, the sheep was lost and very valuable to the shepherd. In the second story, the coin was lost and very valuable to the woman. The same is true of sinners. Sinners are lost and very valuable to God. And if sinners are valuable to God, shouldn't they be valuable to us as well?
Second, Jesus built bridges to sinners and tax collectors because God is willing to go through infinite trouble to find lost people. The shepherd was willing to go back out into the dark and dangerous wilderness to find the lost sheep. The woman was willing to spare no expense and to spare no effort to find the lost coin. Jesus was willing to go through the horrible trouble of the cross to reach lost people! No wonder Jesus would build bridges to sinners and tax collectors.
But the third reason is the best one of all! I will share it in my posting tomorrow!