There was something about Jesus that attracted tax collectors and other sinners. Luke says they were coming near Him and listening to Him. Luke also tells us that Jesus received them, and according to the accusation of the scribes and Pharisees, He was eating with them as well. The word “receive” can be used to describe a passive act, but Luke’s meaning here is that Jesus eagerly received sinners.
Following the accusation, Jesus proceeded to tell several “lost and found” parables or stories that explained His actions.
He is like a shepherd who finds his lost sheep.
He is like a woman who finds her lost coin.
He is like a father whose lost son is found.
And in all three cases, the ending is the same—there is great rejoicing. In fact, it’s party time! It is the Father’s good pleasure to give repentant sinners the Kingdom.
God lavishes His children with the riches of His grace in Christ. He rejoices over them with gladness. He quiets them by His love. He exults over them with loud singing.
O happy day, when in thy love’s sovereignty
thou didst look on me, and call me by grace.
Then did the dead heart begin to beat,
the darkened eye glimmer with light,
the dull ear catch thy echo,
and I turned to thee and found thee,
a God ready to hear, willing to save.
(Valley of Vision, pg. 112)