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January 26, 2014

PASTOR POPHIN: Those whom Jesus loves most

By TOMMY POPHIN

Have you ever noticed that men and women are wired differently?

For example, when a movie comes out that is considered a “love story,” it informally is classified as a “chick flick.” Most men would rather not waste their time seeing it unless they are taking the girl they love to the movie.

Even though men are not willing to admit it, as the movie draws to an end, we are quick to get ourselves back together by blowing our nose or quickly wiping our eyes because we were “touched.” My family went to see “Saving Mr. Banks” recently and my daughter caught me and asked, “Dad, are you crying?”

Most of us know that Jesus’ love for us is unconditional. However, it is also unequal. What may surprise you are those whom Jesus loves the most. Take, for example, the story found in Luke 15:1-7 where Jesus reveals His love for others. We see two groups of people in Jesus’ presence: 1) tax collectors and “sinners”; 2) Pharisees and teachers of the Law otherwise known as the “religious leaders.”

In verses 1-2 we read: “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’”

Notice the difference in attitude that the two groups had toward Jesus. The “sinners” gathered to hear Jesus while the religious leaders were there to “mutter.” So, who came to Jesus with the right heart?

Let’s read the story Jesus tells in verses 3-6: “Then Jesus told them this parable: Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he 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 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’”

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