What did I learn about Jesus?
- Jesus actively seeks the one who is lost.
- Jesus rejoices over the return of the one who was lost.
What did I learn about disciple-making?
- Jesus assumes it will be natural for me and assumes that I will go and seek those who are lost (verse 4).
- I can’t make disciples by just being with my disciples. I need to be with those deemed “sinners” with my disciples, like Jesus (verse 1).
Extended thoughts and observations from Pastor Mark:
Luke 15 is one of the most beloved of chapters in the Bible. The stories of the three “losts”: sheep, coin, son. (Actually…there are TWO lost sons. The eldest just doesn’t KNOW he is lost.)
The context is set, starkly, in verses 1-2: “Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. (Isn’t that WONDERFUL? People who are far from God want to learn how to be closer to God. Isn’t Jesus amazing?) Verse 2: “But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” You know…it’s hard to not develop real feelings of contempt for these people. Rather than celebrating the heart-turnings of many irreligious people, they are disgusted because Jesus hangs out with such sordid folks. JUST AWFUL!
Here’s the one thing I want to pull out of each story: REJOICING! Notice that, in verse 7, there is “more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
Who is doing the rejoicing in heaven? I think the next lost coin story tells us, verse 10: “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” I never saw this before. It doesn’t appear to be the ANGELS that are rejoicing but rather, the saints who by God’s grace have been saved from THEIR sinful lives… who repented and received God’s kindness… THEY are the ones rejoicing in the PRESENCE of angels. Isn’t that awesome? Our sinful forefathers and mothers are cheering us on in heaven and the angels are looking on as they do so!
Finally, one of the two most famous parables (Good Samaritan being the other) and both only found in Luke. Thank GOD for Dr. Luke. The party is one big act of rejoicing. Verse 24: “Let’s have a feast and celebrate… So they began to celebrate… verse 32… we HAD to celebrate…”
Here’s the challenge for me… what lost person have I been searching for in order to bring them back to God? I started making calls on non-attenders and actually used the words, “This is your shepherd looking for his lost sheep.” They laughed, but at least two families returned to church that Sunday. I met with a third man that week as well. I’m not saying they are “sinners”… just saying that it was a sweet experience to follow the lead of our Good Shepherd who goes searching for the lost, ourselves included.