Archive for May 8th, 2023

Written by Lisa Harper, a contemporary author.

A few years ago I went to church with a young friend named Laurie who I met while volunteering at a faith-based, addiction recovery program. Laurie had turned her life over to Jesus after experiencing horrific abuse, which led to drug addiction and ultimately being arrested for possession with intent to sell. And like most of my friends in recovery, she is refreshingly honest. Even in church! After listening to the pastor preach for a few minutes about what a motley crew the disciples were – how they were largely uneducated, coarse, and mistake-prone men – Laurie elbowed me in the ribs and whispered loud enough for most of the congregation to hear, “Hey Miss Lisa, Jesus has a thing for losers, doesn’t He?” Although it’s admittedly informal, “Jesus has a thing for losers” could be an apropos subtitle for the Gospel according to Luke because his narrative reads more like Jerry Springer than Shakespeare! It’s replete with stories about Jesus engaging with outliers and outcasts like Samaritans, tax collectors, and the poor – people that ancient culture would surely have labeled as losers – yet the King of all kings lavished them with unconditional love and what some regarded as scandalous grace. A great example of our Redeemer’s counter-cultural compassion is found in Luke 18, which Luke frames in verse 9: “Then He told this story to some who boasted of their virtue and scorned everyone else.” In other words, the audience Jesus told the following parable to was a haughty group of yahoos who had the double whammy of being self-righteous and judgmental…It wasn’t uncommon in the First Century to lump tax collectors with sinners because ancient tax collectors – also called “publicans” because they collected public revenue on behalf of the government – were about as well-loved as dinner-time telemarketers! And to add insult to injury, they were infamous for charging whatever the market would bear and then skimming off the top before turning the coffers over to Rome. Which meant Jewish tax collectors built their bank accounts on the backs of their fellow countrymen making them the worst kind of traitors because their Beemers and fancy Mediterranean homes came at the expense of their friends, family, and neighbors. Yet Luke makes one of those ancient Jewish IRS agents the unlikely star of this story! The takeaway is: being reconciled into a right relationship with God isn’t based on our deservedness, it’s based on His divine grace. Human nature presumes that we have to earn favor with God. That we have to justify ourselves by checking off all the boxes on some sort of spiritual “to do” list. But the tenor and tone of our Redeemer’s earthly life and ministry prove otherwise. Luke paints a compelling portrait of Jesus opening the restorative refuge of His arms wide to include mistake-prone misfits and that is the really, really good news of his gospel account!


Written by Lisa Mojica, a contemporary writer.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your incredible, infinite, and unfailing love. Even though I don’t deserve it, You still love me. Lord, help me to love the unlovable and the forgotten. Help me to see the best in people and to forgive the worst. Lord, help me to share Your love with the lost. Amen.

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