Lenten Reading for March 12


This week we will be living with Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son and the elder brother. Luke tells us the context in which Jesus told the parable:

Now all the tax-collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:1-3)Consider the difference between being adrift and being shipwrecked. Which is better? When you are shipwrecked, there is no pretending that you’re doing okay. You know you need help. When you are adrift, the capacity for self-deception is far greater. I’m not really lost. I’m sure I’ll find my bearings any moment now, andÂ= discover that I’ve been heading in the right direction after all.

The Pharisees and the scribes were adrift; the sinners and tax collectors are shipwrecked. When Jesus enters the picture, those who are shipwrecked are ready to welcome him. Those who are adrift keep their distance, criticizing him. With whom will we identify; those who are shipwrecked, welcoming the savior, or those who are adrift, refusing to acknowledge how far off course they are?

Notice how instinctively drawn to Jesus the shipwrecked folk are. His bearing is one of mercy, not judgment. Do we have his bearing?

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