Vs. 1-2, “Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Jesus goes on to explain to us why He would choose the tax collectors and “sinners” in this well known chapter. Remember that the Pharisee’s and teachers of the law were responding in jealousy and a hardened heart. The sheep needed a shepherd, the lost coins were truly of value, and the lost son needed a father. We see a picture of God’s joy with us when the sheep is found, the coin is found and the lost son is found. Don’t forget that it was us (Sheep, coin & son) that went astray and left the fellowship of our Lord.
Regarding application…Reaching Our Potential. So often we struggle with self-esteem far more than we would like to admit. In some ways we can get overconfident in certain areas in life…however, I would contend that very few of us truly reach our potential. Case in point, the prodigal son thought his potential would be to be a servant in his father’s household, but the father had different plans. Brothers & sisters…don’t sell yourself short. I’m not just talking about the potential of your future careers…I’m talking spiritual potential! We are all on our journey home, but getting there involves traversing through deserts, valleys, forests, swamps, oceans, mountains, etc. And truly…it will be incredibly wonderful to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant!”