Summary: Jesus tells us that there is nothing more important than finding things that are lost. More than anything lost things matter to God.
“Lost and Found”
Luke 15: 11-31
The boss of a large company was having some problems with one of his computers and he needed to call one of his employees one evening at home. He dialed the number and he was greeted with a child’s voice speaking very softly. The boss said, is your daddy home? He whispered yes. He said well may I talk to him. He said, no you can’t. He says well is your mother home? He said yes. He says well can I talk to her. He said no. Well knowing that it was unlikely that the little boy was home alone the man decided he would just leave a message who should be there watching him. He says is there anyone else there besides you? He says yes there is. There is a policeman. Now he’s wondering what a cop is doing there so he says may I speak to the policeman. He says no he’s busy. He say’s he’s busy talking to my mama and daddy and to the fireman. Now he’s really concerned. Then he hears what sounds like a helicopter over the phone so he asks what is that noise I hear? He says well it is a helicopter. So he’s says well what is going on there. The little boy says well they just landed the helicopter. He says well what are they doing there? He says with a slight giggle, they are all looking for me.
We have 3 stories told here-they are really one parable-3 stories-one central truth. Lost things matter to God and because of that God spends a lot of time looking for his people. Now to understand this story you’ve got to start with the first two verses.
Verses 1-2. Can you fell the tension in those 2 verses? There are a variety of titles that were given to Jesus while He was on earth. He was the door, the light of the world, the alpha and omega, the way but there in this passage we would call him the friend of sinners. The pharisee and the teachers of the law were saying this as an insult but Jesus probably took it as a compliment.
Now in the first story a farmer has 100 sheep and one gets lost. Jesus shows us how a farmer leaves the 99 and goes on a search and rescue mission for the one. In the 2nd story a widow loses one if her coins and turns te house upside down to find it. And when the lost son returns home the father throws a big party and what do they do-they rejoice. There are a lot of things we could point out about these 3 stories but there is really one common thread. Whenever the lost are found the father rejoices. Verse 6-the farmer calls his friends together and he says rejoice with me, I have found my lost sheep. In verse 9 the widow says rejoice with me I have found my lost coin. And when te lost son returns home the father throws a big party and what do they do-they rejoice.
Luke 15:7 Now let’s focus on the younger son. Verses 11-12. He wants his inheritance and he wants it while his father is still alive. In the middle east this was the same as saying Dad I’m eager for you to die. Normally in this situation a father would kick his son out of the house for such a request. But instead the father gives it to him. He takes the money, leaves home and goes to a place the Bible calls a “distant country.” There he spends his money down to the last penny. Then a famine comes and so not having any cash and being so far away from home he meets a farmer who offers him work but the only work he can get is feeding the pigs/slopping the hogs.
Now before we go any further let’s analyze here what happened to the younger son. How did he get from a life of wealth to living a life in pigpen? I see 5 steps.
1. He was selfish. His fall/demise began with a single, selfish act. He said I want my money and I want it now. All he could see were dollar signs..show me the money. I want out of here.
2. He acted in haste. The Bible says that when he got his money he took off to a distant country. Now when we hear that phrase we shouldn’t think of somewhere thousands of miles away. Do you know where the far country is? It is one step out of God’s will. It is not a matter of geography, it is a matter of a broken relationship with God.
3. He wasted everything. The word prodigal actually means to waste. So when he left he never intended to come back home. How do we know that? Because he took all the money with him. He left nothing behind.