15 Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. 2 Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
In response to crowds coming to hear Jesus, the (narcissistic) Pharisees and scribes did not publicly reveal their jealously, but rather grumbled among themselves with a haughty and holier-than-thou attitude about His “receiving sinners”.
Rather than directly rebuke them for their attitude, Jesus responded by telling them three parables. Jesus’ main point in each of the parables was God’s loving grace in seeking those who are “lost”, and joy when they return to Him. This was in obvious contrast with the Pharisees who did not care about the people to whom Jesus was ministering, but only about the fact that they were not the center of attention.
In Jesus’ third story of the “prodigal son” [read the entire parable here], He also used the narcissistic older brother’s response as a mirror to point out to the narcissistic Pharisees their prideful, self-centered obstructionism (Luke 11:52), and lack of mercy. Jesus was not defensive at the Pharisees’ grumbling, but took the path of grace by gently pointing out their error via through this story – if they were willing to listen.
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