The Lord Jesus invites you to gather together with Him, in His house, to rejoice with Him over the repentance and recovery of the lost. For He has become your neighbor, and He has made you His friend; and He is truly happy over over those who were lost, whom He has found and restored to His flock.
In fact, He is happier about those who were lost and are found, than He would be if none of the sheep had ever been lost. Because His joy and His glory are found in His free and full salvation of sinners by His grace.
He does not intend that you, nor anyone, should be self-righteous, but that you be righteous by His mercy, by His gracious forgiveness, by His own righteousness.
What Man among you is like that? There is only the one Man, this Man, who receives sinners and eats with them. More than that, this one Man goes looking for sinners and finds them; He lays them upon His shoulders and brings them home, rejoicing over them in love; and He feeds them at His Table.
He is not only the only Man like this, but He is the only true God, the Father's Son, who has compassion upon you and all; who does not retain anger but passes over rebellion; who treads iniquities under His wounded feet, and who pardons iniquity by His grace.
Do not pass judgment on those whom He receives. You are not more just or righteous than God. And do not grumble against the Lord Jesus on account of His mercy toward sinners. For He is so merciful toward you, and He would have you rejoice in His mercy.
He would have you rejoice, likewise, in your fellow sinners, whom His mercy has found and brought home to Himself.
As He receives sinners and eats with them, so does He receive you at His Table and eat with you; and so do you, His friend and neighbor, receive sinners and eat with them in His house.
Shall you look askance at them, or truly rejoice over them, as the angels of God rejoice?
Or who is that woman who searches so carefully all day long to find the one lost coin? Is she not the Bride of this Man, bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh, who bears His Name and lives by His Word and Spirit, having in her the heart and mind of Christ?
If you belong to her -- and you do, by the grace and mercy of Christ -- then do not merely tolerate the neighbors who sit in the other pews within the House of Christ, who kneel with you at His Altar, but love them with the heart of Christ, and rejoice in them as precious to Him.
Dearly beloved, you also are precious to Him, and He rejoices over you in His great love for you. You are in His house, not only by invitation, but because the Lord has sought you out and found you. He has borne you and all your burdens, all your sins and griefs and sorrows upon His shoulders, and He has brought you here -- which is now also your home in Him -- to eat with Him, and to live. And all of heaven rejoices over you.
In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
3 hours ago