Summary: Jesus teaches us about how we should respond to the "sinners" of this world.
I. “He welcomes sinners!”
A. In Luke 14, we saw Jesus’ call to discipleship, how he called people to give themselves completely to the Lord. He ended his call by saying, “He who has ears, let him hear.”
B. The “sinners” heard and responded. These were the outcasts of society, those who were looked down on and rejected by the religious leaders. These were not necessarily exceptionally wicked people. They were just those who did not meet up to the strict standards of the scribes and the Pharisees, like those who collected taxes for Rome.
C. The “religious ones” were shocked. The term Pharisee means “separated one,” and they were the ones who had separated themselves from sinners, maintaining themselves apart and aloof. They were especially shocked that Jesus would EAT with those people; sharing a meal was a sign of acceptance and fellowship for them.
II. Jesus made some comparisons. That’s what “parable” means, a comparison, a “laying alongside” of two things to see how they are similar and how they are different. Here he compares people in everyday life with his treatment of sinners (and, by implication, the Pharisees treatment of sinners.
A. The Shepherd and his Sheep
1. Note that this shepherd does what any shepherd of his day would have done. This is not an exceptional man. Jesus is able to hold up the situation and say, “And what will the man do?” And the people already know the answer.
2. The shepherd focuses on the lost. Note that the ninety-nine are safe and sound. We can safely assume that the shepherd leaves them in a safe place, quite possibly under the watchful eye of another person. The shepherd’s attention is on the one that is at risk, the one that is not safe with the others.
3. The shepherd leaves the many to seek the few. This is a lesson that we see in Jesus’ own life. He did not seek the crowds. He sought the individuals, and the crowds sought him. Our churches need to learn this lesson. As we focus on individuals and their needs, we will find that we are taking care of the entire flock.
4. Jesus says that there is more rejoicing over one who repents than over many who do not need to repent.
B. The Woman and the Coins
1. Again, the woman does what any person of her day would have done. Those ten coins were not her pocket change; they were quite possibly her life savings. We might understand this better today if we spoke of a one hundred dollar bill. Jesus’ hearers would have understood immediately why the woman went to so much trouble.
2. The woman focuses on the lost. She doesn’t say, “Oh, well. I still have nine coins.” No. She makes every effort to find that tenth coin.
3. The woman does whatever it takes to find the lost coin. The image here is of a relentless, painstaking search. She *will* find that coin.
4. The main message of these parables is repeated. There is more rejoicing over one who repents than many who do not need to repent.
III. Looking in the Mirror
What about me? Do I want to reach out to the outcasts of this world? When I see the drunks and the drug addicts and the prostitutes, am I moved by compassion or filled with disgust?