Monday, July 11, 2016

Luke 15:1-7

Luke 15:1-7
And all the tax collectors and sinners were drawing near to Him to hear Him.  And the Pharisees and scribes were murmuring, saying that this one receives sinners and eats with them.  And He spoke this parable to them while saying, “What man out of you all has a hundred sheep and after losing one of them he does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and journeys to the one who is perishing until he should find it?  And after finding it, he lays it upon his shoulders while rejoicing.  And after coming to the house, he calls friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I found my sheep that was perishing!’  I say to you that in this manner that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner repenting than upon ninety-nine righteous ones who do not have a need of repentance.”

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

The Pharisees and scribes murmur.  Of course they do!  The lesson to learn is that even when we are trying to be friendly and open to God’s hand at work, people will get upset with us.  People will not understand and will judge us because we are different.  Jesus is merely trying to reach people with the message that God loves them.  The Pharisees get upset because He’s not doing it the way that they think it should be done.  He is being merciful rather than judging them.

When have you upset people just by trying to follow God’s will?  Have those people ever been people who believe in God?  Why do people who know God get upset at other people who are simply trying to follow God?

Second Thought:

Jesus gives us a very unique parable here.  There is a guy who has a hundred sheep.  One gets lost.  Instead of keeping the other ninety-nine safe, he trusts them to care for themselves and goes after the one!  Let’s put this in context.  If you are carrying a hundred dollar bills and a pickpocket thief comes along and takes one without you noticing, do you leave the money and look for the thief or do you just rejoice that he only got one dollar?  Or, say you take a test and get only one problem wrong.  Are you angry you didn’t get a hundred percent or should you be ecstatic you did so well?  The common sense answer is to rejoice at the good grade, rejoice at the thief’s bad luck, and to keep the ninety-nine sheep.  But God doesn’t always play by human common sense.  God knows how to keep the ninety-nine safe and devote Himself to finding the one.  Let’s be grateful that He does, too.  Each of us is that one sheep.  Each of us is that lost sheep that Jesus comes out to find.

What does it mean to you that when you are lost, God comes to find you?  What does this teach us about God’s love?

Third Thought:

We end this passage with a bit of a conundrum.  Why would Jesus say that there is more joy in heaven over one sinner than ninety-nine righteous people?  The answer is actually really simple.  There are not ninety-nine righteous people!  In fact, the Bible is really clear here.  Not one of us is righteous.  So what Jesus is really saying is that we are all sinners.  We all have a need to repent.  In this light, it makes sense.  Heaven will do much more rejoicing over one person who finds their need to repent than over the ninety-nine people who think they are completely free of any need to repent!  When the Pharisees get upset that Jesus is hanging out with sinners, they are showing their lack of understanding about their own sinfulness within.

Do you understand that you are in need of repentance?  What does repentance mean to you?  How does it look in your eyes?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 15:8-10
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