A Tender Word for Pharisees
This Sunday I preached at Watermark Church in Dallas under the title “A Tender Word for Pharisees.” There are not many tender words for Pharisees in the mouth of Jesus. Mainly his words to Pharisees are tough, even terrifying (see Matthew 23).
The most moving words of tenderness for Pharisees are in Luke 15:25–31, the words of the father to the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son.
Luke 15 begins with Jesus eating with “tax collectors and sinners.” The Pharisees grumbled, “This man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2).
Jesus explains what he is doing with three parables: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. The point of each is that when Jesus eats with sinners, what’s happening is that the Father in heaven is seeking the lost. The physician is tending the sick (Luke 5:30–31). That’s the meaning of…