Today we have the stories of the lost sheep and the ten drachma; how when one of these is lost the shepherd and the woman shall search endlessly till the lost one is found. Lovely.
But there is a sentence before these which is often missed. It tells how the tax collectors and sinners "were all seeking the company of Jesus."
"He welcomes sinners and eats with them," is how these outcasts saw Jesus. Social exclusion is a terrible thing. To be looked down upon because of race or creed, to be discriminated against because of colour or religion and then to find that the new prophet makes no distinction, must have been something new.
There is no distinction in Jesus. He is above all that. Every person who comes to him knows that he can read hearts and minds--that is what is so unique about him. The sinners felt this acceptance and it attracted them, it healed and restored them.
As our society looses its sense of sin it looses the need for forgiveness but as we become more socially divided and there are more and more outcasts, it is in Jesus that these people shall find acceptance. As Christians, shall they find it in us?