Read Luke 15
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 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.”
The Parable of the Lost Son
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
Everyone has had that moment where you’ve lost something really valuable to you. It could have been your phone, your wallet, your keys, your wedding ring, etc. When you lose something that doesn’t have much value to you, like a pen or a dime, you usually just let it roll off and forget about it. But when you lose something valuable, that’s a different story. Our instinct when this happens is of course to start looking everywhere. You begin to pull apart your couch cushions, look under your bed, and every nook and cranny diligently. You are absolutely relentless unJl you find it. Then, once you finally find it, even if it takes much longer than you expected, there’s a major sigh of relief and joy that fills you.
This is the type of relentless pursuit we see laid out in Luke 15 as it pertains to the way Jesus has pursued and is pursuing the lost. In all three parables in this chapter, the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son, we see a consistent theme that ought to remind us of the profound truth that God the Father has sent His son Jesus to die on the cross and raise from the grave so that the lost could be found by the power of the gospel. Throughout each of these parables we see the way God rejoices over the lost being found. This is repeated in verses 7, 10, and 32 we see clearly that God delights in our repentance and salvation.
The gospel is a love story of God pursuing us, even when we have run far away from Him. Isaiah 53:6 says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” This is the reality of our identity before we meet Jesus, we are lost and astray doing what is right in our own eyes. Yet, by the power of the gospel, God is on a mission to rescue us from our own destruction. When we come to God in our mess and all as the prodigal son did and with humility, say, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”(verse 21) It is then that we can experience true freedom. It is through repentance before God and walking in a relationship with Him, where we will truly find life.
There are only two kinds of people reading this right now: those that are lost and those that are found in Jesus. Take a moment to consider what your status is before God. To those that are lost, be encouraged that God loves you, and is ready to receive you with open arms. You don’t need to clean yourself up before you surrender into His arms, He will take care of that. To those who have found life in Jesus, rejoice over your own salvation daily. Then out of that joy, may this passage be a reminder to you that there are lost people all around you, who desperately need to be found. Pray that they would be, and pray that you would live with urgency, desiring none to perish but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
- What does this chapter teach you about the character of God?
- Read Romans 8:1, 14-15 and compare it with the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. How does it make you feel to know that when you receive the gift of the gospel that God treats you as sons and daughters not as a servant or slave?
- Make a list of 1-3 people in your life who are currently far from God. Spend some time
praying that they would find life in Jesus.
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