This Man Receives Sinners

It’s amazing what God will do sometimes to get your attention.

I read this week the testimony of someone who came to faith in Christ after the Lord used a unique way to open her eyes to the gospel.

Her name was Edith, and she previously cared nothing for religion. But one Sunday morning she walked into a church service near her apartment looking for something to satisfy her discontented soul. When the pastor arose to read the Scripture for the day, she had no idea how the Lord would seem to speak directly to her.

The text that day was Luke 15:1-2, which the pastor read from the King James Version of the Bible. “Then drew near unto Him all the publicans and sinners for to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying ‘This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.'”

That’s what the pastor read, but this is what Edith heard:  “This man receives sinners, and Edith with them.” Immediately she sat straight up in her pew!

She eventually realized her mistake, but the thought that Jesus welcomed sinners–and that included Edith–stayed with her. She began to explore the truth of the Scripture, read the gospel accounts about this man who loved a sinner like her, and eventually decided to place her faith in Christ and follow Him.

You know, it was pretty scandalous to those Pharisees and scribes of the first century that Jesus would sit down with sinners and eat with them. Their accusation against Him–“This man receives sinners”–was certainly meant as an indictment, but for us it is the best news we could ever hear. Elsewhere, they took their accusation a step further and called Him a “friend of sinners.” I’m so glad that is true: What a friend we have in Jesus.

The good news for us today is that Jesus Christ still receives sinners…and Edith with them. You can also fit your name in that same blank, because you are included in the long list of sinners that He receives. I hope you know Him, but if not, I hope you’ll give Christ your full attention and that you will turn to Him in faith. He loves you unconditionally and demonstrated that love by dying on the cross for your sins.