Summary: Jesus tells three parables illustrating what it means to be lost, heaven¡¦s joy when the lost are found and how the loving Father looks to save people.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 41
¡§Parables of the Father¡¦s Love¡¨
As we open our study of Chapter fifteen, the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling again. ¡§Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. (2) And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, "This Man receives sinners and eats with them." Specifically, they were grumbling about the fact that Jesus ¡§received sinners¡¨ and ate with them. Why should it matter to them whether Jesus chose to associate with sinners? To associate with those whose lives were outwardly sinful was to challenge the whole system of spiritually that the Pharisees had developed.
¡§The religious leaders were people who claimed to know God and who were offended by the kind of people Jesus attracted. They were not alone in having these feelings. If we are honest with ourselves, we sometimes share their attitude. Not everyone who follows Jesus is ¡¥our kind of person¡¦¡¨ [Gary Inrig. The Parables: Understanding What Jesus Meant. p 12.]
According to verse three Jesus tells the parables we find here in response to the grumbling of the Pharisees and scribes, ¡§So He spoke this parable to them, saying¡K¡¨
Jesus tells three parables illustrating what it means to be lost, heaven¡¦s joy when the lost are found and how the loving Father looks to save people.
In these parables God is the shepherd whose sheep has wandered off; he is the woman who grieved because she has lost a coin; he is the father whose son has gone away. It is an amazing picture of God, he is seen grieving, seeking and rejoicing. If you are lost today, the first application is to you, you are valuable to God even in your lost condition.
The biblical description of those who do not know Christ as their savior is not ¡§unsaved¡¨ but ¡§lost.¡¨ In his letter to the Ephesians (2:12) the Apostle Paul describes those without Christ as ¡§without hope and without God in the world.¡¨ Perhaps there is no better illustration of this than the image of a child lost in the supermarket. The helpful worker comes to the crying child and says, ¡§What¡¦s the matter? Why are you crying?¡¨ ¡§I¡¦m lost¡¨ says the little boy, ¡§I can¡¦t find by Daddy.¡¨ For the little boy, ¡§lost¡¨ means being absent from his father. And so it is with us.
Each of the three parables that follow speak of the Fathers connection with the lost.
1. The Father Seeks That Which Is Lost
- The Parable of the Lost Sheep (vv. 4-7)
"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? (5) And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. (6) And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ (7) I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.¡¨
A lost sheep in the Judean wilderness was doomed. The shepherd took whatever time was necessary to search for his lost sheep. He had to expose himself to the same dangers of the wilderness and the weather. The same lions and wolves that were stalking his sheep might stalk him as well. The longer the sheep remained lost the greater the risk of being destroyed.