Summary: Message from Luke 15 on the parables of the lost sheep, coin and sons.
Lost and Found Luke 15:1-32
There is an entire television series simply called, “Lost.” Guys are notorious for refusing to admit when they are lost or to ask directions. Many today feel like they are making excellent headway in life but really have no idea where they are headed. Jesus told Zaccheus, a tax collector with a desire to see Jesus “…the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10
Most today don’t even realize they are lost and refuse to ask or take directions. The reality is that until Jesus seeks and finds us, everyone is lost and will die lost. We will never feel at home. We will never know true meaning in life. The Bible clearly states man’s refusal to seek God; ask directions.
As it is written, "There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for god; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of god before their eyes." Rom 3:10-18
God created all men with an internal sense of His existence. It is like a homing signal that points the way home.
The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. Romans 1:18-19
At some point we either pursue that signal or suppress it. We will embrace Him or resist and ignore Him. How do we get so far off track? And how can we get back on track?
I. The situation
Jesus interacted with two groups of people. Jesus related these stories to emphasize how God really feels about lost people.
Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." Luke 15:1-2
A. Tax collectors and sinners
Tax collectors collected money for the Roman government. The money they collected was more like a customs or tariff on goods. They could be Romans but the office was also filled by native Jews. They were not always honest. They often collected more than what they were suppose to. They were considered collaborators, turncoats, extortionists, thieves
Matthew was a tax collector. Zaccheus was a chief tax collector. They were hated and ranked with harlots on the popularity scale. Sinners were anyone else not considered part of the spiritual elite. These were people to be avoided and rejected. They were certainly not worthy of inclusion in the community of God. These particular tax collectors and sinners however, seemed to have a heart to learn. They came to listen to what Jesus had to say.
B. The Pharisees and Scribes
Here was a group of people that considered themselves above everyone else.
They fancied themselves as the holy gatekeepers commissioned to protect the kingdom from all undesirables and sinners. The response of these people was not exactly what we might expect from godly people. When they noticed Jesus receiving and connecting to the very people they were sworn to despise, they boldly verbalized their disapproval.
They “grumbled” to mutter complain, murmur stemming from a strong personal negative attitude. Their negative attitude is obvious by their reference to Jesus: “this man.”
Jesus not only welcomed tax collectors and sinners, He ate with them like they were His friends. This rotted the socks off the spiritual elite. Here is an obvious example of prejudice. Prejudice groups people together according to some external criteria, slaps on a label and always views them according to their classification rather than individuals.
The criteria may be color, race, nationality, school, church, religion, side of town, wardrobe, economic status, marital status, age, gender. The individual is judged based on their association with the group. That’s why it is called pre judge. To pre judge on the basis of the group not the individual.
Jesus – Yahweh saves. The Good Shepherd. Son of God. Jesus responded much differently than anyone expected. Here is a highly respected teacher, a devout Jew with royal blood associating with low life. He received them, welcomed them, accepted them and even sought to connect with them. To receive someone is to draw them into your circle, cherish, accept, or anxiously wait. Jesus not only received them but went even further by eating with them. Eating a meal together in that culture was a sign of acceptance, hospitality and close fellowship. Jesus connected with these people because He valued them. They were all image bearers of His Father in need of the truth. These were “hungry sinners’. They were there to hear what Jesus had to say about God. That put them on common ground.