Luke 15: The Lost Sheep
Jesus gathers the Publicans and the sinners to hear Him, while the Pharisees and Scribes murmur that He is eating with sinners.
Jesus tells the Parable of the Lost Sheep;
“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth no leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friend and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” (Luke 15:4-7)
Why is it important to rejoice over the Lost Sheep? Because you don’t want anyone to perish! We should have compassion on everyone! The other 99 sheep, why not worry about them? Well, they have not run away or slipped off the path from the rest. The 99 are just as important, but they are not in as much need as the ones who are Lost. Either way you should celebrate when someone or something has been found.
Jesus tells the Parable of the Lost Coin (piece of silver);
“…what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I lost. Likewise… there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:8-10)
This is the same thing as the Parable of the Lost Sheep, we should value everyone. If everyone is on the path and is not lost, great! However, those who have fallen off the path and are Lost, have need to be found!
Jesus tells the Parable of the Prodigal Son;
“…A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me of the portion of goods that falleth to me [inheritance]. And he divided unto them his living…the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living [being rebellious and irresponsible]….when he spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land: and he began to be in want… he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine…. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.” (Luke 15:11-15;17-19)
So, this son goes to his father and asks for his inheritance now. The father agrees and the son wastes the money, and is forced to find employment with a man who apparently does not pay him enough to eat properly and he hungers. So he decides to return home to his father, where he plans on becoming one of the hired servants.
“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.” (Luke 15:20-21)
The son was embarrassed and told his father that he had sinned by wasting his money and that he was no longer worthy to be his son. But the father reacts in a rather unexpected manner…
“But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:22-23)
Instead of scolding his son, the father was so happy to see him that he wanted to put on a huge feast in celebration of his return. The older son, when he hears about this is angered. So the father comes out to find the older brother to talk about why he was angry. The older son claims that he had worked hard, without transgression and yet the younger son sinned and wasted away the fathers money on all manner of sin. The father responds to the elder son; “… Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15:31-32)
Essentially the father reminds the older son, that everything the father has is still his. He is not going to lose his inheritance, but that they should still celebrate the homecoming of the younger son. We need to remember this, that just because a sinner is being celebrated for getting back on the right path, does not mean that a good person who never sins doesn’t get a big feast. For that time will come!