There was a tendency among the Pharisees (see Luke 15 -a) to despise the sinner and make no effort for his reclamation. They prided themselves on their scrupulous observance of the law and on their lives being free from open sin. Christ met them on their own ground, and showed them that the recovery and reformation of the sinner was pleasing to God. He desires that none should perish, but that all should forsake sin and return. They thought that as there were no flagrant sins in their lives to be repented of, that they were God's favorite children. Christ showed them that if, as they contended, they were free from such sins, their self-righteous attitude was not so pleasing to God as was the attitude of the man who knew he had done wrong, and abjured it and asked pardon. There was need for repentance on the part of those who claimed to be just persons, as Christ showed them over and over again; but he was teaching another lesson at that time, and was proving to them, that, even assuming that they were sinless, as they claimed, they were wrong in the position they took toward the sinner.