A Short Study of Luke 15:2
“This Man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” (Luke 15:2)
This was spoken by the Pharisees, in a derogatory way, as they despised and hated Christ, for they were attempting to earn salvation by their own works. Their sneering statement was a tremendous truth.
What a wonder of wonders we have here! An infinite, holy and sin-hating God, receiveth poor, sinful rebels in the Person of the lovely Lord Jesus Christ, God’s well-beloved Son. These sinners that come, are those whom God has chosen from all eternity, and given to His beloved Son, Immanuel. The pure doctrine is, they come to be received by Jesus, by the drawing love of the Father.
Well, what sort of sinners are they? Are they the cream of mankind? Are they sinners who are not as bad as some sinners? Are they sinners that God knows that if He gives them space and time, they will naturally become wise, improve their lives, so that they are worthy to be saved? Are they sinners that have at last been able to fulfil the law of God? No! No! For these poor sinners know that they are completely lost, absolutely ruined, abandoned wretches and infidels by nature. We think of the dying thief, the poor, mad Gadarene, abandoned Manasseh, and Mary Magdalene possessed by seven devils.
Why are they coming? Because they need a great salvation. They need everlasting mercy. They need all their sins to be washed away. They need a complete saving all their journey through. They need preparation for the swellings of Jordan, that they may pass over safely into the promised land. They need the angel of His presence every step of the way, and in their many trials and tribulations, they need the mighty God of Jacob, to command deliverances for them. They come to be saved by grace.
They have to come in all their spiritual conflicts and temptations. They have to come with all their trials, burdens and cares. They have to come asking for more grace that is alone sufficient to bring them safely through to the end. They have to come casting all their cares and worries upon Him. They are sweetly taught in all their comings to plead the infinite merit of a precious Christ.
Where do they come to? Why! They come to that blessed place called the throne of grace, or as typified in the cermonial law, the blood-sprinkled mercy seat. They come to what is sometimes called the footstool of mercy and grace. They come to the feet of the dear Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. They come to the only refuge for sinners which is provided by a faithful God who is of infinite compassion and of tender mercy.
Are they received? Yes! Yes! The Scriptures show plainly that coming sinners are received. “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Jesus also said, “And him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Whatever the burdens, sins and trials, the poor, seeking soul shall prove, “He is faithful that promised.” (Hebrews 10:23)
Who receives them? The dear Lord Jesus who is now in heaven, and He fulfils His word, “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them” (Isaiah 41:17). Jesus is that true, loving and faithful Friend of sinners who come repenting toward Him, because they believe that He is the Christ.
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2nd Corinthians 6:17-18).
“Returning prodigals shall find,
Though they are base, their Father’s kind.”
Jesus receives them! Their supplications are received, their persons are received, and they are blessed. This is all through the love of Christ and the merit of Christ. These are sweet seasons, and they can truly say with David, “I love the LORD, because He hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because He hath inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live.” (Psalm 116:1-2)
When the LORD hears our poor prayers, may we truly lay His goodness much to our hearts. Sadly, we can so easily forget, for we are such leaky vessels.
As we look back, may we value the former mercies received, and may we take courage to continue in the faith, “Looking unto Jesus.” (Hebrews 12:2)
“Blessed is the man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.” (Psalm 40:4)