6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Salvation, restoration, joy


Luke 15: 1-10 (p740) July 10, 2011


Have you ever communicated something to someone and you were really excited about it, but they miss the point ENTIRELY?!!!

I thought of this story...

On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made their first flight of an

airplane at Kitty Hawk NC. On their 5th attempt, the plane under the control of

Orville, embarked on a 12 second flight.

Wilbur rushed to the local telegraph office and sent the following message-WE HAVE


Upon receiving the telegram their sister, Katherine went to the newspaper office, told the

editor of her brother's new flying machine, and informed him, they would be home for

Christmas, if he would like to set up an interview.

He told her that was nice, and he would be sure to put something in the paper regarding

the boys.

On December 19th, the local paper placed the following headline on the 6th page of the


The most important story of the year - man's flight - and the editor missed it!

I don't believe the Editor missed the point because he was evil or stupid...he missed the point because of his "point of view".

He'd known the boys since their youth...and Katherine...He knew this family and the community, and because of that point of view he saw their being home for Christmas as the important event....not the first flight of mankind.

As we examine one of the most well known chapters in the New Testament its impossible for us not to look at it through American eyes...It's impossible for us not to receive the story like the Editor...because we've known since our childhood, we've raised boys of our own in this western culture, but maybe...just maybe we've also missed the most important news in doing so.

Kenneth Bailey an author and lecturer on Middle Eastern New Testament studies says

"If theology is presented in story form...(as Jesus does here in Luke 15), the meaning of the story cannot be fairly ascertained without becoming, as much as possible, a part of the culture of the story teller and his or her listeners."

He uses a great example...If I say "I'm mad about my flat" to an American audience it means "I'm hungry because someone or something punctured one of my automobile tires"...but if I use that same sentence to a British audience it means "I'm very excited about my new apartment!?

The culture of the speaker must be considered if what he says is to be understood.

So over the next five weeks (if Jesus tarries) we are going to look at Luke 15 through the eyes of a middle Eastern culture...and it is my hope that the words of Jesus will come alive with fresh insight as we seek to grasp the most important "News" in Jesus story.

"If a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step" its also true that "the first step must be in the right direction"...

Our first step with Jesus begins with....


In Luke's gospel Jesus begins his final journey to Jerusalem in chapter 9 and he arrives there in Chapter 19.

It is in these interviewing chapters that Jesus has an ongoing contact with the Pharisees...the so called overseers of "The House of Israel"

They have missed the most important aspect of God's story...The Messiah is here...He has come to bring salvation...the Pharisees consider themselves the pillars and protectors of "the House of Israel"...they should have been the Messiah's welcoming committee..but instead of welcoming the Messiahs message of salvation....

They complain...

"Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him...but the Pharisee and teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them".

It's essential we understand that when Jesus told these upcoming stories he was on his way to Jerusalem..but before he arrived there he would be caught in the middle of a storm.

[I remember driving to Florida with Kari and after 14 hours of driving we'd reached the Turnpike and first as we went through the toll booth a thunderstorm broke out...It rained to hard we couldn't see...we had to pull over.]

Jesus is on his way to the cross...Jerusalem was the goal...but until he got there a storm would break out until it came crashing down on him there.

The Pharisees believed Jesus posed a threat to the elite...and they would eliminate this threat with any means possible.

There biggest complaint...the actions that caused them to cloud up the most..."This man receives sinners and eats with them."

It is the very reason Jesus tells these three stories about a lost sheep, a lost coin, and finally a lost son.

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