Luke 15:2
And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
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(2) And the Pharisees and scribes . . .—Here, too, we may well believe that the speakers were some of the guests of Luke 14:15. They had followed Him to see what He would do, and were at once startled and shocked to find the Teacher who had spoken so sternly to those who were professedly godly, not only talking to, but eating with, those who were, at any rate, regarded as ungodly and sinful.

Luke 15:2-7. And he spake this parable — That he might justify his conversing freely with sinners, in order to their reformation and salvation, he spake the parable of the lost sheep, which he had delivered once before, and also two other parables, which all declare, in direct contrariety to the Pharisees and scribes, in what manner God receiveth sinners. What man having a hundred sheep, &c. — See note on Matthew 18:12-15. Doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness — Where they used to feed. All uncultivated ground, like our commons, was by the Jews termed wilderness, or desert, in distinction from arable and enclosed land: and go after that which is lost — In recovering a lost soul, Christ, as it were, labours. May we not learn from hence, that to let them alone, who are in sin, is both unchristian and inhuman? And when he hath found it — After a long and tedious search, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing, as a man in such circumstances naturally would. And calleth together his friends and neighbours — Who had been informed of his loss, and grieved on account of it: saying, Rejoice — With me, for my labour and search have not been in vain; I have found my sheep which was lost — To my great joy, especially as I was ready to despair of finding it. Likewise joy shall be in heaven — First, in our blessed Lord himself, and then among the angels of God, and the spirits of just men, perhaps informed thereof by God himself, or by the angels who ministered to them; over one sinner — Over one gross, open, notorious sinner; that repenteth — That is thoroughly changed in heart and life; more than over ninety and nine just Δικαιοις, righteous persons, who need no repentance — No such universal change of mind and character, having been the subjects of it in their childhood or youth. It cannot, as Dr. Doddridge justly observes, be our Lord’s meaning here, that God esteems one penitent sinner more than ninety and nine confirmed and established saints; (who are, undoubtedly, the persons spoken of as needing no repentance, or no universal change of heart and life, in which sense the word μετανοια is commonly used;) for it would be inconsistent with the divine wisdom, goodness, and holiness to suppose this. But it is plainly as if he had said, “As a father peculiarly rejoices when an extravagant child, supposed to be utterly lost, is brought to a thorough sense of his duty, and is effectually reformed; or, as any other person who has recovered what he had given up for gone, has a more sensible satisfaction in it than in several other things equally valuable, but not in such danger: so do the holy inhabitants of heaven rejoice in the conversion of the most abandoned sinners. Yea, and God himself so readily forgives and receives them, that he may be represented as having part in the joy.” It must be observed, however, that, as the design of the parable is to represent divine things by images taken from the manners of men, what is here said must be understood as spoken with allusion to human passions, which are much more sensibly affected with the obtaining of what was long and vehemently desired, or with the gaining of that which was looked upon as lost, than with the continuance of the good long enjoyed. And when such passions are ascribed to God, they are to be taken in a figurative sense, entirely exclusive of those sensations which result from the commotions of animal nature in ourselves.

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!Murmured - They affected to suppose that if Jesus treated sinners kindly he must be fond of their society, and be a man of similar character. "They" considered it disgraceful to be with them or to eat with them, and they, therefore, brought a charge against him for it. They "would" not suppose that he admitted them to his society for the purpose of doing them good; nor did they remember that the very object of his coming was to call the wicked from their ways and to save them from death.

Receiveth sinners - Receives them in a tender manner; treats them with kindness; does not drive them from his presence.

And eateth with them - Contrary to the received maxims of the scribes. By eating with them he showed that he did not despise or overlook them.

2. murmured, saying, &c.—took it ill, were scandalized at Him, and insinuated (on the principle that a man is known by the company he keeps) that He must have some secret sympathy with their character. But oh, what a truth of unspeakable preciousness do their lips, as on other occasions, unconsciously utter., Now follow three parables representing the sinner: (1) in his stupidity; (2) as all-unconscious of his lost condition; (3) knowingly and willingly estranged from God [Bengel]. The first two set forth the seeking love of God; the last, His receiving love [Trench]. See Poole on "Luke 15:2"

And the Pharisees and Scribes murmured,.... When they saw the easy access these wicked men had to Christ; and that he stopped and stayed with them, and very freely imparted instructions to them: saying,

this man receiveth sinners. The Persic version reads, "publicans and sinners", as in the preceding verse: the word "man" is not in the original text, it is only "this"; which is to be understood not by way of eminence, as this great person, this prophet, this master in Israel; but by way of diminution and reproach, this fellow; as it is sometimes supplied: the word "man" be very rightly inserted, for they took him to be a mere man; though it is certain he was more than a man, even the true and mighty God; and therefore was able to save those sinners that came to him: and great condescension and grace did he show in receiving them who were "sinners", not only by nature, but by practice; and not merely guilty of common infirmities, but were notorious sinners, covetous, extortioners, oppressors of the poor, and very debauched persons; and such as these Christ "receives": hence no man should be discouraged from coming to Christ, on account of sin; all that do come to him, should come as sinners, for he receives them as such; nor does he receive any for any worthiness there is in them: these persons he received first at his Father's hand, as he did all the elect, as his portion, and to be preserved and saved by him; with all gifts, grace, blessings, and promises for them; and in consequence of this, he receives them upon their coming to him as sinners, into his open love and affection, into his arms; which denotes communion and protection; into his house and family, and not only to hear him preach, or preached, but to converse and eat with him at his table, and even to live by faith upon him; and when he has freed them from all their sins, he will receive them to himself in glory. And there is the greatest reason imaginable to believe, that Christ still does, and will receive sinners; since he came to save the chief of sinners; and has bore their sins, and died for them; and now makes intercession for transgressors; and by the ministers of the word calls sinners to repentance.

And eateth with them; as he did in the houses of Matthew the publican, and of Zaccheus; see Matthew 9:10 each of which occasioned great murmurings among the Pharisees; and who therefore traduced him as a friend of publicans and sinners; and he is indeed so in the best sense: and not only did he eat with them corporeally, but in a spiritual sense, as he still does; admitting them into his house to eat of the provisions of it, to live on him the bread of life, to sup with him, and he with them; and feeding and delighting himself in the exercise of those graces, which he himself is the donor and author of, in them.

And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
Luke 15:2. διεγόγγυζον: the διὰ conveys the idea of a general pervasive murmuring. This is probably not an instance illustrating Hermann’s remark (ad Viger., p. 856) that this preposition in compound verbs often adds the notion of striving (διαπίνειν, certare bibendo).—οἵ τε φ.: the τε ([126] [127] [128]) binds Pharisees and scribes together as one: as close a corporation as “publicans and sinners” (equivalent to “sinners” in their conception. ἁμαρτωλοὺς, Luke 15:2). Note the order, Pharisees and scribes; usually the other way. Pharisees answers to sinners, scribes to publicans; the two extremes in character and calling: the holiest and unholiest; the most reputable and the most disreputable occupations. And Jesus preferred the baser group!—προσδέχεται, receives, admits to His presence; instead of repelling with involuntary loathing.—καὶ συνεσθίει: not only admits but also eats with them. That was the main surprise and offence, and therefore just the thing done, because the thing which, while offending the Pharisees, would certainly gain the “sinners”. Jesus did what the reputedly good would not do, so winning their trust.

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

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

[128] Codex Regius--eighth century, represents an ancient text, and is often in agreement with א and B.

2. the Pharisees and scribes] See Excursus VI.

] Rather, were loudly murmuring (Luke 19:7; Joshua 9:18). “With arid heart they blame the very Fount of Mercy,” Gregory the Great. In all ages it had been their sin that they ‘sought not the lost.’ Ezekiel 34:4.

and eateth with them] Even their touch was regarded as unclean by the Pharisees. But our Lord, who read the heart, knew that the religious professors were often the worse sinners before God, and He associated with sinners that He might save them. “Ideo secutus est... usque ad mensam, ubi maxime peccatur.” Bengel. It is this yearning of redemptive love which finds its richest illustration in these three parables. They contain the very essence of the Glad Tidings, and two of them are peculiar to St Luke.

Luke 15:2. Διεγόγγυζον, murmured among one another.

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