Luke – Wide Open Doors!
Jesus was the greatest masterful storyteller that drew people in to hear Truth in ways that made them think. Some were challenge in their previous teaching. Some had “aha” moments of understanding that led their hearts to wanting more of Jesus. Some people balked at the notion that they were less than holy. Most stayed to listen. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost.
Three words summarize the message of this chapter: LOST, FOUND AND REJOICE. Jesus spoke these parables to answer the accusations of the Pharisees and scribes who were scandalized at His behavior. It was bad enough that Jesus welcomed these outcasts and taught them, but He went so far as to eat with them! The Jewish religious leaders did not yet understand that the Son of Man had “come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Even more, they were still blind to the fact that they themselves were among the lost.
The lost, who knew they were wandering, came to him from all walks of life. They were sinners and knew it. But they were still drawn to Jesus who told stories to help them understand more about God. They were drawn to him because he was drawn to them, loving them like no other human had loved and cared. He stood up for them in front of the religious elite who lorded over the common people.
Yes, he came to seek and to save the lost, lonely, broken, and poor and offered new life with new thinking. He explain the scriptures like no one had before because of His own love for Truth and for them. He was Truth. Jesus was different. He call us to be different.
We must read the three examples of being lost as one lesson because there are many ways to be lost. Pray as we read. Let these words speak to our hearts. Use this to help us to see our own form of lostness so we can be found in Jesus Christ alone.
Luke 15, New Living Translation
Parable of the Lost Sheep
15 Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. 2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!
3 So Jesus told them this story: 4 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. 6 When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!
HOLY PAUSE…Think about it
DISTRACTED AND FOOLISH
One of the sheep strays, never looking up, follows the greener grass, gets away from the 99 believers and gets into trouble. This form of being lost we will call distracted, living foolishly. Life stuff distracts all of us from time to time. Shiny objects of sin draws our attention off the Shepherd.
Notice who brings the foolish back…Does the herd bring the lost sheep back? No, Jesus does. Only the Shepherd knows where to look and how to bring Him back. Jesus was saying that God actually searches for lost sinners! No wonder the scribes and Pharisees were offended, for there was no place in their legalistic theology for a God like that. They had forgotten that God had sought out Adam and Eve when they had sinned and hidden from God (Gen. 3:8–9).
The Shepherd is extremely happy when the sheep who got distracted and foolishly lost is brought back to the sheepfold. He is safe once more. “Rejoice with me, I found my lost sheep.” Silly sheep. Now the sheep who was lost is found and is safe.
How do the 99 receive the now found sheep? Do we celebrate when a lost “sheep” is brought back into the fold by Jesus?
Is that distracted lost sheep you? Are we foolish at times?
Do the “99” welcome the “lost but now found” in ways that honor God and help the found sheep grow in faith? Or do we judge suspiciously, wondering when he/she will stray again?
Yikes. Let’s celebrate like heaven!
Parable of the Lost Coin
8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”
The sheep was lost because of its foolishness, but the coin was lost because of the carelessness of another. It is a sobering thought that our carelessness at home could result in a soul being lost.
When a Jewish girl married, she began to wear a headband of ten silver coins to signify that she was now a wife. It was the Jewish version of our modern wedding ring, and it would be considered a calamity for her to lose one of those coins.
Palestinian houses were dark, so she had to light a lamp and search until she found the lost coin, and we can imagine her joy at finding it.
When we get too busy in our lives, do we get careless in our walk? Stop and let the Holy Spirit evaluate.
We can easily get caught us in all kinds of activities (even church work) and miss what is most important…our continuing, growing, transforming relationship with God.
Rejoice when we find the lighted path of God and walk on it with Him! Found!
These two parables help us understand something of what it means to be lost. To begin with, it means being out of place. Sheep belong with the flock, coins belong on the chain, and lost sinners belong in fellowship with God. But to be lost also means being out of service.
A lost sheep is of no value to the shepherd, a lost coin has no value to the owner, and a lost sinner cannot experience the enriching fulfillment God has for him in Jesus Christ. But to turn this around, to be “found” (saved) means that you are back in place (reconciled to God), back in service (life has a purpose), and out of danger. No wonder the shepherd and the woman rejoiced and invited their friends to rejoice with them!
Parable of the Lost Son
11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’
20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’
22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’
28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’
31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”
In spite of their supposed knowledge of Scripture, the scribes and Pharisees (like the elder son) forgot that God was like a father who pitied his wayward children (Ps. 103:8–14).
We call this story “the parable of the prodigal son” (the word prodigal means “wasteful”), but it could also be called “the parable of the loving father,” for it emphasizes the graciousness of the father more than the sinfulness of the son.
Unlike the shepherd and the woman in the previous parables, the father did not go out to seek the son, but it was the memory of his father’s goodness that brought the boy to repentance and forgiveness (see Rom. 2:4).
We have considered being lost as foolish and careless. Now we see be lost as rebellious and defiant. The son left the Father to go his own way…along with his father’s inheritance! The son was defiant, thinking he could do better. He was rebellious of all the teachings of his father. However he never forgot what he was taught.
Warren Wiersbe comments, ” To “repent” means “to change one’s mind,” and that is exactly what the young man did as he cared for the pigs. (What a job for a Jewish boy!) He “came to himself,” which suggests that up to this point he had not really “been himself.” There is an “insanity” in sin that seems to paralyze the image of God within us and liberate the “animal” inside.”
The young man changed his mind about himself and his situation, and he admitted that he was a sinner. He confessed that his father was a generous man and that service at home was far better than “freedom” in the far country. It is God’s goodness, not just man’s badness, that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4).
If the boy had thought only about himself—his hunger, his homesickness, his loneliness—he would have despaired. But his painful circumstances helped him to see his father in a new way, and this brought him hope. If his father was so good to servants, maybe he would be willing to forgive a son.
Had he stopped there, the boy would have experienced only regret or remorse (2 Cor. 7:10), but true repentance involves the will as well as the mind and the emotions—“I will arise … I will go … I will say….” Our resolutions may be noble, but unless we act on them, they can never of themselves bring about any permanent good. If repentance is truly the work of God (Acts 11:18), then the sinner will obey God and put saving faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).
Ah, where are we in our relationship with Our Heavenly Father?
COMING BACK TO THE FATHER IS A TIME OF REJOICING!
Here Jesus answered the accusations of the scribes and Pharisees (Luke 15:2), for the father not only ran to welcome his son, but he honored the boy’s homecoming by preparing a great feast and inviting the village to attend. The father never did permit the younger son to finish his confession; he interrupted him, forgave him, and ordered the celebration to begin!
FINAL THOUGHT (I know this is long today but so important to understand…)
Of course, the father pictures to us the attitude of our heavenly Father toward sinners who repent: He is rich in His mercy and grace, and great in His love toward them (Eph. 2:1–10). All of this is possible because of the sacrifice of His Son on the cross.
No matter what some preachers (and singers) claim, we are not saved by God’s love; God loves the whole world, and the whole world is not saved. We are saved by God’s grace, and grace is love that pays a price.
In the East, old men do not run, yet the father ran to meet his son. Why? One obvious reason was his love for him and his desire to show that love. But there is something else involved. This wayward son had brought disgrace to his family and village and, according to Deuteronomy 21:18–21, he should have been stoned to death. If the neighbors had started to stone him, they would have hit the father who was embracing him! What a picture of what Jesus did for us on the cross!
Repent, remembering all that God has provided in His Son, Jesus Christ. REJOICE in being found right now…today!
Let the party begin…
In Jesus Name, Amen