Aug11TueAugust 11, 2020
Good morning Redeemed of God,
Well we have finished one week of holidays. In 8 days we have had no rain, even though they have forecasted rain. The weather has been incredible, with blue skies and temperatures in the high 20's. We've been to church twice, two different churches, and both times we were not allowed to sing. They have a no singing rule for churches - very strange to have a worship team leading, and not be able to sing. Actually, it is almost impossible to hold yourself back from singing, but finding other ways to express your devotion to God has been interesting. We don't have to wear masks in public places, but many do. August 17th, they are starting a mandatory mask rule...not sure why when all this time they were not mandated. We live in strange times, with leaders who seem to have no clue what they are doing. We need Jesus!
Today's reading is a very familiar one, but I would like to share some fresh light on it. It is one of those passages where we really have to be aware of the context, and audience to whom Jesus is speaking. Jesus tells 3 parables to a mixed group of people - Pharisees (religious, self-righteous people who look down on sinners, and believe they do not need to repent for anything), and sinners/tax collectors (Luke 15:1-2). Always the same groups of people - those who think they are perfect and those who know they are not - sounds very familiar. The message of the first parable (vss.4-7) is very clear: Jesus is out seeking for lost sinners; when they are found by Him, they repent and this causes great joy in Heaven. To the "sinners" listening, this would be great news - Jesus is seeking the lost to bring them to repentance and salvation. To the Pharisees listening, this would be a slap in the face - "you righteous (self-righteous), who think you don't need to repent, because you think you are perfect, there is no rejoicing in Heaven." This is a huge theme in the gospels - the separation of the self-righteous Jews (99 that Jesus leaves) who rejected Jesus, and repentant sinners who embrace Him. (See Luke 5:30-32)The focus of the story is not on the 99, but on the one who repents and is brought home, carried by the Shepherd - what a great picture of Jesus rescuing sinners! The same is true in the next parable (vss. 8-10) - the emphasis is on finding the lost coin. When found there is great rejoicing! The text explains the parable as a sinner being led to repentance!
The final story, that which we call "the prodigal son" is a real life illustration of a sinner repenting, and a self-righteous brother who thinks he deserves a party because he is so good (Luke 15:11-32). Jesus preaches to His audience, and is able to speak to the hearts of sinners and self-righteous alike. An encounter with Jesus should lead all of us to repentance and saving faith. Each of our testimony should be "I was dead, now I am alive; I was lost now I am found." The Great Shepherd of my soul has rescued me! Hopefully, we are not now "Pharisees" hindering "sinners" from experiencing the party that awaits them when they are reunited with their Savior. Friends, let us be part of bringing the lost to Jesus.
Have a blessed week!