Have you ever wondered what Jesus would say about today’s issues? We can all imagine what his opinion would be on global and even national levels, but we need to ask ourselves what he would have to say about “me?” About the condition of my heart. What would he speak to concerning our judgement call of others? In Luke chapter 15, Jesus is being crowded by “so called” undesirable company, tax collectors, and sinners. The religious leaders rebuked him for even associating with them. They had excluded these people from kingdom acceptance, according to their own judgement. So what would Jesus have to say today? Maybe the same thing he had to say back then, and that was to tell them three parables to lead them to correction. He gave them a 1 in 100 scenario, a 1 in 10, and a 1 in 2. The truth is, there are no high-risk lost people. Everyone has the same chance at salvation, but not everyone will accept the offer.
Jesus told of the lost sheep to the Pharisees that day. One sheep out of 100 was lost. He told of a lady’s coin that was misplaced. One coin out of 10 she could not find. In our wasteful mentality today, we would easily build in for a 1 and a 10 percent loss margin. We would accept the 1 percent loss on the sheep and the 10 percent loss on the coin because it would cost more in time to search for it than it would to replace it. However, to this woman, her lost coin was more than just a day’s wages. The 10 coins together were the completion of her wedding preparation. Without that coin, she was an incomplete bride. The thing to notice with the sheep is the 99. These were the ones left behind in order to search out the one. There’s something to be said about these. They are the responsible sheep, wiser and more dedicated. They are the ones that get things done. If not for the responsible nature of the 99, the one could never have been searched for to begin with. These are the faithful of the Lord. Without them, kingdom work could not be done.
The last parable Jesus spoke to these men was the about the prodigal son. When he came home, the father rejoiced, placed a ring on his hand, shoes on his feet, and a robe on his back. Then they celebrated by killing the fatted calf. Now the older son became very upset, not so much over the robe and ring but over the celebration. A fatted calf was one that was reserved for a very special event. The older son felt under-appreciated, and he lashed out. He placed judgement according to his own hurt and his brother’s rebellion. He disqualified his brother because of what he had done. The father, however, judged the young man according to his repentance and sonship.
The coin and the sheep were lost and had to be sought out. The lost son, however, had to make a decision to return. If the father had made him come home, he would have been there in body but not in will. Jesus won’t force us to come to him, but know that he is watching every day for each of us to come home. Your robe, ring, shoes, and party are waiting.
We can talk more about this at Christpoint Church, this Sunday morning, at 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. We’re on Liberty Square, in Sparta, and we’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.
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