Summary: Jesus could have made his point with only one of these stories and yet he told all three that day. Why?
OPEN: The boss of a big company needed to call one of his employees about an urgent problem with one of the main computers. He dialed the employees home telephone number and was greeted with a child’s whispered, "Hello?"
The boss asked, "Is your Daddy home?"
"Yes," whispered the small voice.
"May I talk with him?" the man asked.
To the boss’ surprise, the small voice whispered, "No."
The boss persisted, "Is your Mommy there?"
"Yes," came the answer.
"May I talk with her?"
Again, the small voice whispered, "No."
“Well, is there someone else there I might talk to?" the boss asked the child.
"Yes," whispered the child, "a policeman."
"Well then, may I speak with the policeman?"
"No,” whispered the child “he is busy"
"Busy doing what?" asked the boss.
"Talking to Daddy and Mommy and the Fireman," came the whispered answer.
Now the boss was growing concerned and just then he heard what sounded like a helicopter through the ear piece on the phone, the boss asked, "What is that noise?"
"A hello-copper," answered the whispering voice.
Alarmed, the boss nearly shouted: "What is going on there?"
In an awed whispering voice, the child answered, "The search team just landed the hello-copper!"
"Why are they there?"
There was a muffled giggle as the child said, "They are looking for me!"
APPLY: They were “looking” for him….
Now, I’ve been a father long enough to suspect what might happen when that dad and mom finally found their little boy. BUT there can be no doubt about how much they valued him or of the love they had for him. In fact, if any one of my children disappeared, I would do whatever would be necessary to find them.
In our text today, we have Jesus telling 3 stories about things that have been lost. Items of great value to those who lost them.
1. A man lost his sheep. He left the 99 sheep in the field until he found it.
2. A woman lost a coin (worth @ $50 in our society). She swept the house until she found it.
3. A man lost his son. And he constantly looked toward the horizon for a glimpse of his child.
THEY WERE LOOKING FOR WHAT THEY HAD LOST
These are pretty good stories. You can visualize these situations. You can identify with what these people are going through. And yet, Jesus wasn’t telling these stories to entertain His crowd. He had a specific audience that needed to hear what He had to say (Luke 15:1-2) – the Pharisees and teachers of the law.
I. These Pharisees and teachers were representatives of God in their society. These were the men who would be most familiar with God’s word. Why would these religious people be so upset about Jesus eating with “sinners?”
ILLUS: Samuel Colgate, the founder of the Colgate business empire, was a devout Christian. During an evangelistic service that he’d attended, an invitation was given at the close of the sermon for all those who wished to turn their lives over to Christ and be forgiven.
One of the first persons to walk down the aisle was a well-known prostitute. She wept openly as she expressed her desire to become a Christian and to become a member of this church. For a few moments, the silence was deafening. This was in the days when some churches “voted” on whether a person would be accepted into their congregation, and it became apparent that these people weren’t sure they wanted her in their church.
This was the attitude of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. To their way of thinking, when a person sinned so much, they became worthless. They became like so much garage to be set in the garbage can by side of the road for the trash collector to come and carry away. Once a person reached that level of depravity they were no longer of any value to God or man. Or at least, that’s what the religious leaders thought.
But, Jesus was saying to these Pharisees and teachers of the Law:
“I don’t think you understand. These are the kind of people I came for. These tax collectors and sinners are those who have been lost to God because of their sins.”
Apparently Samuel Colgate understood this. Maybe he was even thinking of these parables (in Luke) when arose and said, "I guess we blundered when we prayed that the Lord would save sinners. We forgot to specify what kind of sinners.
We’d better ask him to forgive us for this oversight. The Holy Spirit has touched this woman and made her truly repentant, but the Lord apparently doesn’t understand that she’s not the type we want him to rescue. We’d better spell out for him just which sinners we had in mind."