Posted by: Terry | July 6, 2009

He welcomes people like me, Part ii

“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15.2 NIV)

What is amazing is that Jesus “Welcomes” people like me; not tolerates, not begrudgingly, but he welcomes them. The word has a sense of anticipation, of expectation. It has the idea of opening up his house to them for dinner and inviting them as a special guest.

A friend once said, “I know God loves me, he has to because he is God. But does God like me?” From all that we know of Jesus he actually did like associating with people, even people that the rest of the world shunned. And the amazing thing is that he reached out to them before they responded to him, it was unconditional.

Even more amazing is that he does not stop welcoming me after I become a follower of his. My repeated failures to live a holy life, my frequent relapses to old ways, and my insecurities, none of these put him off.

He says he is like a shepherd seeking after a straying lamb who when he finds him does not scold him or punish him, but rather picks him up and carries him back to the rest of the flock.

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6 NIV) Jesus has dealt with our failures and sins; past, present, and future. As a result he stands with open arms, no he watches and seeks with open arms, to bring us back, clean us up, and strengthen us to go on. Then like the father of the prodigal he throws a feast of celebration.

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Jesus is for us, for you, for me. If we could just “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” we would never be the same. That is my prayer for you, and crave that you would pray that for me.

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