INI + AMEN.
Jesus saves sinners. If He saved you, then you’re a sinner. If He had to save you, then there’s nothing you could’ve done or said about it. If that’s the case, and it is, then His death is all that counts for saving sinners, for saving you. It all begins and ends with Jesus. He’s the Alpha and the Omega, after all. He does everything to save you. He dots all the i’s and crosses all the t’s. He leaves no stone unturned. Nothing is left unfinished.
There’s nothing sinners have to do. Not one thing. They don’t have to get right with Him before He gets right with them. He doesn’t do His part, and then they do theirs. No, none of that. We are saved by grace alone through faith in Christ alone, as Paul says. Old Adam doesn’t like that though. That’s not his religion. He wants steps and programs. Things he can do to measure up, to save himself. This is why Jesus catches flack from the Pharisees and Scribes, “This guy welcomes sinners and eats with them!” Of course He does! That’s Jesus for you. That’s what Jesus does for sinners, what He does FOR YOU. The complaint of the unbelieving Pharisees and Scribes actually describes Jesus to a T.
JESUS WELCOMES SINNERS AND EATS WITH THEM.
((I. He welcomes them by finding them.))
Now, how does He welcome them? Well, He’s got to find them first! And He does! He takes the initiative. He goes after them. Well, how? In the same way He welcomes them: in His Word. He speaks first. His Word echoes across the waters of Holy Baptism. There He calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy a little lamb for Himself, and this happens because He gives the Holy Spirit, the forgiveness of sins, and a new creation there in and through the Water. He finds and welcomes through His Holy Word, whether it’s read from the Holy Scriptures or through the telling of the Gospel, that is, the Good News that Jesus has died and risen FOR YOU.
Of course Jesus takes the initiative in finding sinners. He has to! They need to be found! They can’t find their way back. Only Jesus can find them. What can a lost sheep do to be found? What about a lost cow? Oh, there might be some bleating and mooing, but then think about a coin. What can a coin do? Even less, not anything at all to be found. But He won’t be deterred, hindered, or prevented in rescuing His sheep, in finding His coin. He leaves everything—His Father and heaven itself—to rescue sinners, to rescue you. He fulfills the Law FOR YOU not one jot or tittle passes away, and He made sure to dot every i and cross every t. He bore your sins and His cross, and not even the stone in front of His tomb could stop Him. He died and rose to rescue sinners, to rescue you.
((II. He feeds them and celebrates.))
Having rescued sinners through His death, and having found them and brought them back to Himself in Baptism and the Word, He’s not done yet. He’s still got more up His sleeve FOR YOU. You see, He welcomes them so they can eat with Him. He shares His table with them. He gives them to eat of His body and blood in His Supper. It’s a meal for sinners. Jesus doesn’t share His table with ”good people” or “well behaved people” or “people who’ve got their act together.“ He shares His body and blood with sinners that they might be forgiven, that they might have greater trust in Him, that they might grow in love for their neighbor, that they might continue walking in newness of life.
If you have sins, then this Supper’s for you. Jesus welcomes you. If you think, “Well, I’ve done XYZ, so it can’t be for me,” well then, listen to this: Jesus says to you, ”Take eat and drink; this is My body and blood FOR YOU.” That’s what He tells sinners who come to His table.
What joy! Of course there is! When JESUS WELCOMES SINNERS AND EATS WITH THEM, when a sinner comes and eats with Him, there’s joy in heaven and among the angels over that one who sinners who is repented. We rejoice whenever we have the Supper because of what Jesus does. We rejoice and sing praises “with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven.” This is just a foretaste of the feast to come, the eternal feast to come, when we will rejoice in Jesus’ presence forever.
JESUS WELCOMES SINNERS AND EATS WITH THEM. Don’t forget that, dear Christian. He’s found you and welcomes you. He wants to share His table with you. He does this because you’re a sinner. He deals only with sinners. The only way you don’t need Him is if you don‘t have sins, if you’re not a sinner. To think you don’t or you’re not is to call God a liar. But Jesus has dotted every i (fulfilling the Law for you), He’s crossed every t (bearing your sin in His own body on the tree), and He left no stone unturned (rising from the dead FOR YOU). If you’re saved, then Jesus did it. Jesus did the saving. As a good and faithful shepherd, He finds His sheep (baptizing, absolving, and feeding them). We bring our sin and resistance to His table and nothing else, but, having brought you to His table, He brings you His Body and Blood to eat and drink for the forgiveness of your sins, and “where there’s the forgiveness of sins, there’s also new life and eternal salvation.”
INI + AMEN.