One Lost Sheep (Lent 27-2019)

People living in relative comfort –especially ones who are experiencing success and with ample pleasure in priorities– often find suffering to be a deal-breaker when it comes to Jesus. As the crowd thinned, one thing became crystal clear to the Pharisees:  Jesus’ larger group of followers weren’t from elite schools of Torah study but they were willing to suffer for His Kingdom.  This was troublesome for the Pharisees because those types—those radicals and riffraff–weren’t even welcome to attend their synagogues because the leaders didn’t want to become polluted by their presence or get in trouble by affiliation.  Their reputation meant a lot.    

Luke 15:1 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.”

What they meant as an insult, Jesus received as a ministry compliment!  They misjudged their own standing before God. Even after His teaching the leaders about blindness to one’s own sin, they still didn’t get it. 

But the others did.  These sinners and tax collectors had nothing left to lose.  They didn’t have prestige or power.  Everyone viewed them like pariahs or human debris.  Except this guy.  Jesus was different.  He didn’t send them away but oddly, seemed to understand their plight.  They hungered for more of Jesus’ teachings even while the Pharisees rejected everything He had to say (not because what He was saying wasn’t true, but because it was Jesus saying it).

Luke 15:3 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.

Think about it:

  • Does Jesus say that these Pharisees don’t actually need to repent or is He granting their assumption for the purpose of the story? 
  • Had Jesus said everyone needs to repent, how would the focus of the discussion have changed from a vertical dimension (God rejoicing over repentant sinners) to a horizontal comparison (who is a worse sinner)? 
  • The Pharisees already didn’t like Him.  How did focusing on the sinner who repents maintain the message without adding distractions/ argument into the topic?

Lord Jesus, thank You for seeking and saving sinners! Thank You for the welcome we have in You and for the angels who rejoice when each one of us repents and is saved. We praise You for Your Word and the truth contained. Thank You that the Holy Spirit reveals to us more of You as we study Your Word. Father God, thank You for the heart of love You have for those who bear Your image and the lengths You went to save us. Our words will never be enough to express our gratitude for Your grace and mercy! We praise You and honor You as Lord and Savior! Amen.

If you’re already signed up on my Home Page sidebar to receive posts, you’ll get the 2019 Lent Devotionals automatically. Or you can “Like” Seminary Gal on Facebook and they’ll be delivered to your Facebook news feed. If you haven’t signed up, today is a great day to do so. Advent and Lenten devotionals remain among my most popular offerings. You don’t want to miss this great look at the Easter story to prepare your heart for Easter! Understanding that prior years’ devotionals remain popular,

Categories Chapel Worship/News | Tags: | Posted on April 5, 2019

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