I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
…And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ – Lk. 15:7, 9 NIV
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Jesus had just made his listeners understand the great blessing that was available for them if they not only nourish the poor, crippled, lame and blind with physical food when they host banquets but had metaphorically taught them to nourish the soul of such groups of people so that they can be prepared heaven-wards – Lk. 14:10-14. These group of people may not be willing to attend such spiritual banquets but it will be part of their duty to seek them out and bring them into the spiritual banquet – Lk. 14:21-24. No excuse will be tenable for not filling the banquet hall nay the house of the lord with such people, as those who claim to work for him must search far and wide to find and bring them into the banquet hall, after all it was his love that also gave them access into hall in the first place – Songs of Solomon 2:4. This is mainly because Jehovah is very much interested, not only in those who have come to acknowledge Him as god, but all those who are being blinded by Satan and kept under the bondage of sin. In fact, it is because of them that Jesus Christ came (Matt. 15:24), so one can only imagine his level of disappointment when spiritual banquets in the form of all those revivals and Christian seminars are held with banquet halls filled with only those who are already associated with the Faith.
Whilst on earth, he never stopped identifying and associating with such people letting them know how much he loves them and will be willing to free them from the bondage of Satan and sin, if only they are willing to accept him as Lord and Savior – Matt. 8:2-3; Jn. 6:37. This was his encouraging message to all, that probably got the tax collectors and those that the Pharisees will want to class as sinners, gather around him. They simply felt comfortable in the peaceful ambience around him, unlike the experience of discrimination and condemnation that they were constantly having with Pharisees and their ilk.
In the attempt by the Pharisees to rubbish the personality of Jesus Christ, they accused him of welcoming sinners and even eating with them but Jesus Christ in his defense, cited two case studies which could be summarised as follows;
- That if a man who has a hundred sheep loses one and eventually finds it, he will celebrate with neighbours, not minding that there were ninety-nine still remaining when that single one got missing – Lk. 15:3-6.
- That a woman who has lost a silver coin out of the ten that she posseses will do all in her bid to find it, and success with such a venture will make her also celebrate with her neighbours, like she did not have the remaining nine when the coin was lost.
In both cases it was not due to lack of appreciation of what was not lost but joy of finding the one that was lost. Any one of the ones that were not lost would have been likewise appreciated if they were in similar situation, as it is always about the joy of finding what was lost. He thus concluded with the foundation scriptures for today’s Devotional, that in a similar manner, the heavens rejoice over every sinner who returns and repents, more than every righteous person that does not have cause to repent. The celebration is more for victory over Satan and a return of a lost soul.
A major feature of the Pharisees is their habit of looking down on, or writing off anyone who does not belong to their group using derogatory words, so it is not unusual for them to describe a group of people as “sinners”. In using such words, they attempt to further intimidate those outside their group, and thereby, maintain their dominance and oppressive acts over them. A sinner, even in the Jewish religion would be one who has transgressed the mosaic laws and they, in their self assessment are not in that class as they project themselves as being perfect in the things of Jehovah. This belief is nothing but self-deception as nothing is farther from the truth than this. Even the bible notes that, not only were we all born in sin (Psa. 51:5), but we have even gone further to sin – Rom. 3:23. In fact their claims to righteousness is considered deceitful by biblical standards – 1Jn. 1:8-10.
The Christian today should not be found towing this path of the Pharisees as that would be in complete contrast to what Christianity is all about, which is that Jesus came to die for sinners – 1Tim. 1:15. The truth is that without sinners, there will be no Christianity as it remains the basis for the coming, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jehovah considers the one who sins as a victim of uncontrolled carnal desires or worse still, under the deception and bondage of Satan. He expects that those who have been freed from such situations will remember that they were once in that situation (Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13), and they will show gratitude for been freed from such situations by aiming to free more people rather than discriminating against them.
The loss of any soul to Satan remains a source of sadness to Jehovah and the heavenly hosts, as it indicates success of Satan in keeping the soul in bondage. No matter how many souls are enjoying divine freedom, the ones that are in bondage remain of great concern to Jehovah, after all, He it is that created all souls and would not standby and watch His creation get destroyed by another creation, who did not create any soul.
Do not behave like the Pharisees who have taken the position of self justification and righteousness by looking down on fellow souls because of their sinful state. Not only because you are also a sinner who is only enjoying Grace, but because you will get lots of credits for yourself if you do all in your capacity to free them from the bondage of sin, as that is one of the several ways that the hosts of heaven are made to rejoice. May we all be sufficiently positioned to bring joy, not only to Jehovah but the entire hosts of heaven in Jesus name. Amen.