This man receives sinners!

(Octavius Winslow "Evening Thoughts")

Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came
to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and
teachers of religious law murmur, saying, "This man
receives sinners, and eats with them!"  Luke 15:1-2

The beings whom Jesus sought out,
and drew around Him, were . . . .
  the burdened,
  the bowed down,
  the disconsolate,
  the poor,
  the friendless,
  the helpless,
  the ignorant,
  the weary.

He loved to lavish upon such the fullness of His
benevolent heart, and to exert upon such the skill
of His wonder working power.

Earth's weary sons repaired to His outstretched
arms for shelter, and the world's ignorant and
despised clustered around His feet, to be taught
and blessed.

Sinners of every character, and the disconsolate of
every grade, attracted by His renown, pressed upon
Him from every side. "This man receives sinners" was
the character and the mission by which He was known.

It was new and strange.

Uttered by the lip of the proud and disdainful Pharisee,
it was an epithet of reproach, and an expression of ridicule.

But upon the ear of the poor and wretched outcast,
the sons and daughters of sorrow, ignorance, and woe,
it fell with sweet music.  It passed from lip to lip, it
echoed from shore to shore, "This man receives sinners!"

It found its way into the abodes of misery and poverty;
it penetrated the dungeon of the prisoner and the cell
of the maniac; and it kindled a celestial light in the
solitary dwelling of the widow and the orphan, the
unpitied and the friendless.

Thousands came, faint, weary, and sad; and sat down
beneath His shadow; and thousands more since then
have pressed to their wounded hearts the balsam that
exuded from His bleeding body, and have been healed.

Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came
to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and
teachers of religious law murmur, saying, "This man
receives sinners, and eats with them!"  Luke 15:1-2