Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
This was one of the main differences between Jesus and the Pharisees: Jesus cared about people. Each one was precious to Him. And He cared about the eternal state of their souls. He seeks the lost. He loves the sinner. He rejoices when the lost is found. And so He is willing to associate with them, to spend time, to get to know them, to meet their needs, and even to give His life for them.
The Pharisees, on the other hand, seem to have viewed most people in this “others” category—not on their level and somehow beneath them, this mass of sinful people that they couldn’t associate with who were unworthy of their time and attention. But the ones they viewed as the most untouchable were the ones that Jesus sought out and those to whom He spread wide His arms of grace and mercy.
Which view do I have of the people around me? Do I see them as unworthy sinners who don’t deserve care or concern or as lost sheep who need a shepherd, souls bound for hell who need a Savior? Am I willing to help them come to know Jesus, or do I push them from Him by my own uncaring attitude? Do I value the souls of people as Jesus does? And if I do, am I willing to seek them out, to get involved in their lives, to show them the love of Christ, and to help them know Him for themselves?