Monday, October 27, 2008

Lost and Found

October 27: Luke 14-15

3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Luke 15:3-10

Lost and Found

In Luke 15, Jesus told three parables, the last of which is probably the most well-known. First He told of a man who had 100 sheep; when one became lost he left the 99 and went in search for the lost sheep. Next, the story was told of a woman who lost one of her 10 silver coins, and sought diligently to find it. The third is the story of the prodigal son, who took his inheritance, squandered it, and then returned to his father to become one of the hired hands.

What do these three have in common, and why are these stories so relevant to us in this present day? Interestingly enough, these three parables were told after the pharisees and scribes made the following comment.

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
Luke 15:1-2

What happened in the first parable? When the man found the lost sheep he called in his friends and neighbors to rejoice with him for finding his sheep. Christ ended this story with these words, "Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

In the second parable, the woman, too, called in her neighbors and friends to rejoice with her for finding her lost coin. Christ ended this parable with similar words, "Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

In the parable of the prodigal son, instead of having to return to his father as a hired hand, his father was so overjoyed to see his son that he threw a large banquet in his honor. The prodigal's brother was highly offended because his father had never thrown any kind of a banquet for him, even though he had served his father faithfully. His father replied to him, "It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found."

In our service for the Lord, what kind of people does the Lord lead us to? He leads us to the lost! You see, the righteous see no need of a Savior, but the lost know they are lost, and know they need salvation. In one of the churches I went to, years ago, the pastor used to say, we must get them lost before they can be saved! Though that is humorous, it really is just the point Christ was making. The Pharisees had no need of a Savior, because they believed they were righteous.

What about today? How do people respond to Christ in our culture? Just this last week a man who works with my husband said that religion was just for those people who needed a crutch to lean upon. Our country is fast disassociating itself with God. Even our latest coins have been minted with the words, "In God We Trust," removed.

Lost and Found! Which one are you? Remember, as a Christian, God is sending you out to the lost; do not be dissuaded by the "righteous" who have no need of Christ.

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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