Most people have either been lost at some point or have lost something valuable. Usually, it’s as silly as losing car keys. That sometimes puts you in a panic until you retrace your steps and see that they’re in a coat pocket. I’ve lost my car — 3 times. Well, I didn’t exactly lose it — I forgot where I parked it. In each occasion, I was so wrapped up in the event of the night, and find a parking space, that I didn’t take notice of where I parked it. It seemed like I was always one street or one lane away. I wasn’t walking far enough. Now, I’m careful to jot down the street, number or floor where I park.
In today’s chapter, Jesus tells 3 lost and found stories. The first one has to do with sheep. I’ve learned a lot about sheep since I’ve been heavily studying the Bible. Sheep are kind of stupid. The depend on the flock and the flock depends on the shepherd. They follow. No one pushes them. They hear the shepherd’s voice and they feel secure and they follow Him. At night, they don’t sleep until they feel safe.
However, sheep do tend to wander. Sometimes it’s seeking sweeter or greener grass. It’s up to the shepherd to use his crook to gently grab a wandering sheep by the neck and guide it back to the flock before it goes over a cliff.
That reminds me of when I was a tour escort on a cruise ship in the early 80s. I had a group of about 30 people in Caracas, Venezuela. We had some shopping time, then had to meet at 11 am to get in the vans and go to our lunch stop. We were in a plaza and I’d watch as 2 of them would see something interesting in a shop and start wandering off. I had to go after them. As I was coming back with the first 2 another 2 would go off in another direction. I likened it to herding cats, but sheep would be the same way.
With that in mind, let’s look at Jesus’ stories…
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!(bold emphasis mine)
The prophet Isaiah wrote…
6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.Isaiah 53:6 NLT
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.
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.”
Like looking for lost car keys…
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!’”Luke 15 NLT
This morning, knowing that I was doing Luke 15 today, the Holy Spirit put this picture in my Instagram feed, posted by “prayerlife1“…
So, which one are you?
Which one of Jesus’ stories do you relate with the most? The…
- Lost sheep?
- Lost coin?
No matter. For whatever reason, you’ve gone from being lost, to being found, to becoming a seeker. If you are seeking a relationship with Jesus, He is not just waiting for you, He’s pursuing you. And He’ll pursue you until you realize that you’re going in the wrong direction and turn around and follow Him.
Jesus Loves You with a Reckless Love…
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