Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lost and Found, Part 16 of 78

TEXT: "Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, 'This Man receives sinners and eats with them.' So He spoke this parable to them, saying: 'What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!" I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, "Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!" Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents' " (Luke 15:1-10).

IDEA: God rejoices when men and women are found, and He doesn’t want to rejoice alone.

PURPOSE: To stress that we are in relation to God when we delight in what delights Him.

When we talk about the stories in Luke 15, how do we usually refer to them?
(The sheep, the coin, the prodigal son.)

Perhaps naming the stories leads us astray. Where does the emphasis fall in the three stories? How might we rename them?
(The found sheep and the found coin OR the searching shepherd and the seeking woman.)

Read again to the stories of the searching shepherd and of the searching housewife in Luke 15:1-10. What do the two stories have in common with each other?

These stories are told in response to attacks Jesus’ religious opponents made about His associations with unsavory people.

Both stories feature a man and a woman that solid citizens did not value.

They demonstrate that those in the crowd would have done exactly the same thing in different circumstances.

Have you ever lost an animal? Have you ever lost your purse or a valuable earring?

They illustrate that the actions of Jesus fit very well with people who make a desperate search for something that they value. Both seek what is lost “until they find it.”

When they find the sheep or the coin, they have a joy that cannot be contained. One person cannot adequately celebrate it; there must be a party to which others are invited. This is the major point of comparison between the two stories: it is the sheer joy of finding what was lost.

What are the implications of this final emphasis in the two stories?

What are the implications about God? About what Jesus knows about God?

What are the implications for Jesus’ critics?

What are the implications for folks who have made a mess of their lives?

What are the implications for us?

This joy is not only the result of the gospel, it is also the offense of the gospel.