Luke 15 is made up of 3 parables, that all look at the theme of something being lost and found. While these may be familiar parables, I learned some fresh lessons through my reading of these. v1-2 ‘Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered. “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”. These verses give the context to the parables.I am not going to go into great depth of everything in each parable, I would highly recommend reading them for yourself. Here are some ideas that I explored while reading.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep.
v4 ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? The 99 that were left in the open country could be trusted. They knew and understood the dangers of wandering off. As with the one who had wandered off, he had lost his way and was wandering into unknown dangers. The Shepherd knew the sheep could not save itself. v5 ‘And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.’. Even when he find the sheep he joyfully receives it back, protecting it and putting it out of harms way by putting it on his shoulders. They even have a party to rejoice this lost sheep being found. The purpose that the Shepherd poured into finding that one sheep, is a beautiful image of who our Saviour is. There are many people who have already been saved, Jesus does not stop there. He welcomes the sinner into his presence because he sees their purpose and their worth. In the context of this parable, the Pharisees can be seen as the 99 sheep. The Pharisees know what it takes to be righteous. They can choose whether to abide by it or not. The sinners have lost their way, they do not know how to find there way back without someone leading them home. That is why there is so much rejoicing because they are finally in the place they were always meant to be. v7 ‘I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.’.
The Parable of the lost coin.
v8 ‘Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and searches carefully until she finds it?’ . One coin has worth on its own. There is an intense amount of effort put into finding this coin, every area is searched so that the coin will not be missed. There is rejoicing when it is found. It reminded me of our own individual worth, our worth is made complete through Jesus. We are forgiven due to our repentance and the grace of God that comes through Jesus. Amazing grace, that we will never be forgotten or missed by God!
The Parable of the lost son.
The two previous parables put into a human context. One son is righteous and the other a sinner. The younger son was greedy and believed that he deserved to be granted what he had requested of his Father, despite the cost. v12 ‘Father, give me my share of the estate,’ so he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a far country and squandered his wealth on wild living.’ The younger son was very clueless and got lost in his worldly ways, he was not prepared for any misfortune. It leads to: his highest high, to lowest low, humility, surrender and salvation. v19 ‘I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.‘. He had his speech ready and his heart surrendered and was on his way home again. His father saw him at a distance and filled with compassion ran to him! He embraced him and kissed him, showing those around them that although what his son had done was dishonourable the Father was accepting him back and forgiving him. He dresses him richly, reminding him of his worth and who he belongs to. This is what God does for each of us, he reminds us who we are and who we belong to. He reminds us that we are so loved, that we were worth dying for. That in our brokenness and mess, God saw hope that was made complete through Jesus. v24 ‘For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found,’ So they begun to celebrate.‘
On the other side, we see the jealousy of the righteous brother who is feeling hard done by. He has always been faithful but his goodness has never been celebrated in the way his brother was. Instead of rejoicing over the blessing of his brother returning and being saved, he feels rejected. The Father reminds him of all he already has, that he knew his worth and convictions so did not have to go running off like his brother. At this moment his jealousy was misleading him, he did not need to feel rejected for he was already part of something bigger. We have to be careful, that our jealousy does not get in the way or allowing new believers to thrive and come into who they are meant to be. We are not a rejected people, we are greatly blessed because we are saved. May we not lose sight of that because we believe that someone’s portion is better than ours. v 31 ‘My son’, the Father said, ‘you are always with me and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’
I hope that you will have a blessed week and will continue to explore the passages found in Luke’s gospel. I pray that you will continue to grow in wisdom and knowledge. You are loved and cherished. Love Victoria. xx