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The lost sheep, a tax collector, and what might have happened

I pushed in closer to hear the teacher, Jesus. The gaze of the Pharisees burned on my back —those religious men who wouldn’t speak to me in the street and paraded around like kings in their fancy garments meting out their judgements. I didn’t speak their language, and they sure didn’t speak mine. One of them said about Jesus, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” The shame washed over me as the words found their mark—they thought little of people like me. Though some called him Rabbi, Jesus seemed different from the other religious people. He told stories and spoke in ways I could understand. Wearing a simple garment, he didn’t set himself apart by the way he dressed. But following him might be more difficult than I imagined—he’d just told us a person has to give up everything to be his disciple. My fingers tightened around my money bag. All right I’d admit it, I’d taken a cut of the taxes. Did this Jesus know? A woman I'd met by the well said he could look right

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