Luke 15:1
Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
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(1) Then drew near unto him . . .—Better, and all the publicans and the sinners were drawing near to hear Him. There is not quite the same direct sequence in the Greek as in the English, but what follows comes naturally after the mention of the “multitudes” in Luke 14:25. Publicans and sinners knew that Jesus had turned, as in indignation, from the house of the Pharisee, and this, it may be, gave them courage to approach Him.

Luke 15:1. Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners — That is, some of all the different classes of publicans, or all those of that place, and some other notorious sinners; for to hear him — Being influenced to do so through the condescension and kindness which he manifested toward all descriptions of persons, the most abandoned not excepted. Some suppose they came by a particular appointment from all the neighbouring parts. But as Luke goes on in the story, without any intimation of a change, either in the time or the scene of it, it is most probable that these discourses were delivered the same day that Christ dined with the Pharisee, which, being the sabbath day, would give the publicans, who on other days were employed in their office, a more convenient opportunity of attending. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, &c. — Thinking this behaviour of our Lord inconsistent with the sanctity of a prophet, they were much displeased with him for it, and murmured at that charitable condescension, which ought rather to have given them joy.

15:1-10 The parable of the lost sheep is very applicable to the great work of man's redemption. The lost sheep represents the sinner as departed from God, and exposed to certain ruin if not brought back to him, yet not desirous to return. Christ is earnest in bringing sinners home. In the parable of the lost piece of silver, that which is lost, is one piece, of small value compared with the rest. Yet the woman seeks diligently till she finds it. This represents the various means and methods God makes use of to bring lost souls home to himself, and the Saviour's joy on their return to him. How careful then should we be that our repentance is unto salvation!Publicans and sinners - See the notes at Matthew 9:10. CHAPTER 15

Lu 15:1-32. Publicans and Sinners Welcomed by Christ—Three Parables to Explain This.

1. drew near … all the publicans and sinners, &c.—drawn around Him by the extraordinary adaptation of His teaching to their case, who, till He appeared—at least His forerunner—might well say, "No man careth for my soul."Luke 15:1,2 The Pharisees murmur at Christ for receiving sinners.

Luke 15:3-7 The parable of the lost sheep,

Luke 15:8-10 and piece of silver,

Luke 15:11-32 and of the prodigal son.

Ver. 1,2. I have so often taken notice, that the term all in the New Testament is very often used to signify, not all the individuals of that species, or order of men, to which it is applied, but only a great and considerable number of them, that it is needless again to repeat it. None can imagine, that every individual publican and sinner in those parts, where Christ now was, came to hear Christ, but only many of them, or some of every sort. Thus publicans and harlots entered into the kingdom of God, while the children of the kingdom, and such as appeared to lie fairer for it, were cast out. The scribes, who were the interpreters of the law, and the Pharisees, who were the rigid observers of their decrees and interpretations, murmured, they were disturbed and troubled at it; thinking that because the law appointed no sacrifice for bold and presumptuous sinners, therefore there was no mercy in God for them, or those of whom they had such a notion, and that they were ipso jure excommunicated, and therefore Christ sinned in eating or drinking with them, or in any degree receiving of them; and from hence concluding he was no prophet: as if because ordinarily persons are known by their companions with whom they converse, therefore it had been a general rule; as if one might have concluded, that their doctorships were ignorant, because they conversed with them that were so, for their instruction; or could conclude, that the physician is sick, because his converse is with the sick, for their cure and healing. A man is not to be judged to be such as he converses with necessarily, or in order to their good, which was the end of all our Saviour’s converse with these sinners. Besides, were they themselves without sin? The root of their uncharitableness was their opinion of their own righteousness, from the works of the law, according to their own jejune interpretation of it. But let us hear our Saviour’s reply.

Then drew near to him,.... To "Jesus", as the Persic and Ethiopic versions express it: this was on the sabbath day, and either when he was in the Pharisee's house, where he was invited to dinner, Luke 14:1 or rather when he came out of it, when the multitude, who could not come near him whilst there, took the opportunity of gathering about him;

even all the publicans and sinners; whom the Pharisee would not admit into his house, it being contrary to their traditions to eat, and drink, and converse with persons of such an infamous character; See Gill on Matthew 9:10, Matthew 9:11 The word "all" is omitted in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions; but the Arabic version has it, and the Greek copies; and signifies that there were a very large number of them, even all that were in that place, and in the adjacent cities and towns, that got together

for to hear him, or "from him", as the Arabic version; or "doctrine" from him, as the Persic version adds: these having heard much of him; and it may be, might be under some remorse of conscience on account of their vicious lives, came to hear him preach.

Then drew near unto {1} him {a} all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.

(1) We must not give up on those who have gone out of the way, but according to the example of Christ we must take great pains for them.

(a) Some publicans and sinners came to Christ from all areas.

Luke 15:1-2. Introduction to a new, important, and for the most part parabolic set of discourses (down to Luke 17:10), which were uttered after the incidents previously narrated on the continuance of the journey (Luke 14:25), and are set forth by Luke in accordance with his source of the story of the journey. After that exacting discourse, to wit, Luke 14:25-35, many of the publicans and sinners at once attached themselves to Jesus (which psychologically was intelligible enough); and He was so far from rejecting them, that He even fraternized with them at table. This arouses the murmuring of the Pharisees, and thereupon He takes the opportunity of directing the discourse as far as Luke 15:32 to these (Luke 15:3), and then of addressing Luke 16:1-13 to His followers; whereupon He again being specially induced (Luke 16:14) discourses anew against the Pharisees (Luke 16:15-31), and finally closes the scene with instructions to His disciples.

ἦσαν ἐγγιζ.] They were actually engaged in, busied with, drawing near to Him. The usual view: solebant accedere, is arbitrary, because in that way the connection with what precedes is needlessly abandoned.

πάντες] a hyperbole of simple narrative. The throng of such people became greater and greater. Comp. Luke 5:29 f.

καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτ.] as Matthew 9:10.

διεγόγγυζον] διά “certandi significationem addit,” Hermann, ad Viger. p. 856. Hence always of several, whose alternate murmuring is meant, Luke 19:7; Sir 34:24; Exodus 16:2; Exodus 16:8; Exodus 17:3, and elsewhere; Heliodor. vii. 27.

προσδέχεται] receives them, does not reject them. It is quite general, and only with κ. συνεσθίει αὐτοῖς does any special meaning come in.

Luke 15:1-2. Historic introduction.—ἦσαν ἐγγίζοντες: either were in the act of approaching Jesus at a given time (Meyer), or were in the habit of doing so. The position of αὐτῷ before ἐγγίζοντες in [124] [125] favours the latter (Schanz). On the other hand, it is not improbable that the reference is to the Capernaum gathering. We may have here, in fact, another version of that story taken from the Logia, the occasion slightly described, the words spoken carefully reported. In that case we may take πάντες following somewhat strictly, and not as a mere exaggeration of the evangelist’s. There were many at the feast. The aim was to have all the outcasts of the town present (vide on Matthew 9:9-13). True, they came to feast according to the other report, whereas here stress is laid on the hearing (ἀκούειν). The festive feature is referred to in the complaint of the Pharisees (συνεσθίει, Luke 15:2). Of course there would be hearing as well as eating, and probably what the guests heard was just these same parables in slightly different form. In that case they served first as a gospel and then as an apologia.

[124] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[125] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

1-10. The Lost Sheep.

1. Then drew near unto him] Rather, And there were drawing near to Him aU the tax-gatherers and the sinners to listen to Him.

St Chrysostom says that their very life was legalised sin and specious greed. On the publicans, see Luke 3:12, Luke 5:27. ‘The sinners’ mean in general the degraded and outcast classes. See Introd. and Wordsworth, ad loc.

Luke 15:1. Πάντες, all) Not merely very many; all who were in the place. [It is evident from this passage in what way the Saviour afforded to those who flocked together to Him, and joined themselves eagerly to Him, that very advantage, which He would have afforded to the people of Jerusalem, had they for their part been willing; namely, after the image of a hen, which protects and cherishes her young brood under her wings, so He cherished them.—Harm., p. 415.]

Verses 1-32. - The Lord speaks his three parable-stories of the "lost," in which he explains his reason for loving and receiving the sinful. Verses 1, 2. - Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This Man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them; more accurately rendered, there were drawing near to him. This was now, in the last stage of the final journey, the usual state of things. The great outside- class came in crowds to listen to Jesus. These were men and women who, through home and family associations, through their occupations, which were looked upon with disfavour by the more rigid Jews, often no doubt through their own careless, indifferent character, had little or nothing to do with their religious and orthodox countrymen. Poor wanderers, sinners, thoughtless ones, no one cared for them, their present or their future. Do not these in every age make up the majority? The religious, so often Pharisees in heart, despising them, refusing to make allowances for them, looking on them as hopelessly lost ones. But at no time was this state of things so accentuated as when Jesus lived among men. Now, among such care. less irreligious men and women, are man whose hearts are very tender, very listen if the teacher of religion has Mud, wise words for them. The grave and severe, yet intensely pitiful and loving, doctrines of the Galilaean Master found such. His words were words of stern rebuke, and yet were full of hope, even for the hopeless. No man had ever spoken to them like this Man. Hence the crowds of publicans and sinners who were now ever pressing round the Master. But the teachers of Israel, the priestly order, the learned and rigid scribes, the honoured doctors Of the holy Law, - these were indignant, and on first thoughts not without reason, at the apparent preference felt for and special tenderness shown by Jesus to this great outside class of sinners. The three parables of this fifteenth chapter were the apologia of the Galilaean Master to orthodox Israel, but they appeal to an audience far greater than any enclosed in the coasts of the Holy Land, or living in that restless age, Luke 15:1
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