Pretty bold, this Jesus fellow who welcomes sinners. Those lost sheep, lost coins, and lost sons are always beloved, even before we find them and welcome them home. God loves sinners even before we repent. And that’s why Jesus welcomes sinners because that’s what his Father in heaven does.
If we all did that, wouldn’t that lead to all kinds of shocking situations—like loving sinners as our neighbors, or Samaritans, or even Roman soldiers, like the centurion whose servant Jesus heals (Matthew 8:5-13)? You can’t possibly mean that, can you, Jesus? Oh, yes. Jesus means it. And he keeps on welcoming and forgiving and loving sinners.
Even sinners like us. Even sinners like me. Thanks be to God.
This message is an excerpt from a Women of the ELCA monthly devotion by Audrey Novak Riley. Today is Maundy Thursday. We remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer, theologian, who died in 1945.