But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
The fact that Jesus welcomed sinners and spent time in their company confused some religious leaders. This was not something any of them would do. In fact, they believed refusing to be around sinful people was a basic requirement to be truly religious.
Inherent in their practice of avoiding sinners must have been the belief that sinners are irredeemable. They surely believed that those lost to God could not be reclaimed. The lost were simply lost.
So the Teacher surprises them with stories about the lost being found. He even reveals the joy in heaven over one sinner who repents!
Then He asks them to consider what a shepherd would do if one of his sheep wanders from the fold.
Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'
He then tells the story of a woman who loses one of ten silver coins.
Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
The lost can be found! Sinners can repent, change their lives. Isn’t this why Jesus has come? Where the Teacher leads His students?