Luke 15:1-7

Luke

Are there people that you love to be around? Maybe they make you laugh because joy spills out of them. Maybe they exude a sense of peace and calm. Maybe they are so positive that it is virtually impossible to be down when in their presence. Some people have charisma that draws you in.

Jesus drew people. There were lots of reasons. One of the big ones was He didn’t hold stones in His hands to throw, instead He held out his hands to heal and offer hope. He loved people and the tax collectors and sinners could feel it. The religious leaders didn’t like that.

“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.’

Then Jesus told them this parable: 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? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” 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.’” Luke 15:1-7

No, the scribes and Pharisees didn’t like that. They were so self-righteous that they could not see that they too were sinners. They could only identify the sins in someone else. They accused Jesus, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

What an accusation! He receives sinners. Aren’t we glad He does?

Jesus knew the hearts of the Pharisees and scribes. How did he address it? He told stories.

Most people will listen to a story.

One hundred sheep and suddenly one of them wandered off. The wanderer was lost, could not find his way back to the flock. So, what to do? The good shepherd went after the lost sheep, searching every crag and crevice. He left ninety-nine others to diligently go and retrieve the lost.

The word lost here implies hopelessly lost, maybe forever. So, when the shepherd found the lost sheep, he picked it up and laid it on His shoulders to lovingly carry it home.

Think about the conversation between shepherd and sheep as he carried it close. It may have gone something like this: “I am so glad I found you. You could have been lost forever, but here you are. I know you have to be tired and hungry. I will take you home. I love you.”

The shepherd carrying the lost, terrified, weary lamb home is quite a picture, but there is even more.

When the shepherd returned home there was celebration as he called together friends and neighbors to rejoice.

A lost sheep…it was the sinner that Jesus was referring to. He was telling the religious leaders that He had come to do just that. He had come to bring sinners home to heaven. “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.”

Did the scribes and Pharisees get it? No.


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