LOST AND FOUND
God, may I know afresh the joy of my salvation.
Read Luke 15:1–10
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “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? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 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
8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins[a] and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
a Luke 15:8 Greek ten drachmas, each worth about a day’s wages
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhen did you lose something important? What did you do?
Who is the real audience (2, 3) as Jesus tells these stories of lostness? It is not those who are called “sinners,” but those who have need of repentance (7); those, in fact, who are the religious leaders of that day. The climax comes in the familiar story of the lost sons – and yes, that’s plural, as we will discover tomorrow.
The Pharisees set high standards, and expected everyone to keep their rules and regulations. Nor would they associate with those who did not (2). Their God was a strict God. They would never have dreamed of a God who went out searching for the lost (4). They wouldn’t have considered themselves as being among the lost, either. They thought God would obliterate the sinners, not search lovingly to bring them home (6, 7).
These stories have a wonderful progression, from one hundred (3) to ten (8) to two (11). No matter how many there are to begin with, the lost one is needed for completion. And who searches for the missing one (4, 8, 20)? Some commentators have suggested that these stories can be seen as metaphors for the Holy Trinity: the Son, who described himself as the Good Shepherd; the Holy Spirit, recalled in the penetrating, searching thoroughness of the woman; and God the Father.
Do you have a friend who is still “lost”? God is longing for them to come home. Do you have God’s heart toward them? How can you help to show them the way home?
I praise you, God, that You found me. I know that You are still seeking the lost. May my friend be found and brought home today.