Saturday 10 September 2022

LUKE 15 v 1-10

This is a well known passage from the Bible and is liked by many people.

Jesus was surrounded by poor people,  sinners, and tax collectors, who were turning to Jesus, which showed his popularity, and this  upset the Pharisees and Scribe, and they objected, especially when Jesus sat and ate with them.  Rather than be pleased and sow pleasure, they scorned, for they had no time for poor people. Jesus again reflected concern  for the poor.

Jesus saw this as an advantage, not an annoyance, and enabled him to give them parables. Jesus always showed he came to help the poor, the sick, and those whose lives had turned to sin. The whole purpose of his coming was to receive, pardon and make sinners righteous for heaven. He regularly came not to the righteous, but sinners to repentance.   He is still a sinners friend. 

In our advanced way, we wish we had thought and acted in our recent manner.  Many people I am sure look back on life and how they acted, and think if I could only have acted as I feel able to now, how better life would be.  I readily admit I think of my early ministry years, and think how I did things, and wish I had time to make good.  Like  lot of people, we realize the way  we have learned and improved. Christ is willing to understand, and will graciously pardon us freely, and offer eternal life. Do not hold back in asking to be forgiven, and saved.

We see how our Lord displayed his love and  sympathy to sinners, for instead of replying to the Pharisees, he told three parables about loss and losing.  All three we looked at in depth in June, with Christ displaying how he saves sinners.

The love of Jesus is active and working love.  In all three parables the losers did not just sit crying over their loss, nor does Jesus just sit in heaven having pity on people,  He left the glory he had with the Father, and came humbly way down into the world to seek and save the lost.  He continued to make atonement for our misdoings, brought righteousness and pardoned, offering salvation to all.

When the shepherd lost his sheep he went out alone in dangerous territory to find it, leaving the other  to search for just the one lost, When he found it, he picked the sheep up put it over his shoulder and carried it to his home.  He called his friends and neighbors to  join with him in rejoicing for finding his sheep.

Just as that shepherd acted in seeking, finding, caring, rejoicing, so Jesus is truly pleased to  see us repenting and letting him find  and save us. Jesus is more ready and willing to save than men and women are to be saved.  The Bible tells us heaven rejoices for just one found sinner.  We may not fully understand the joy in heaven, but it emphasizes the willingness of God to receive repentant. However bad a person has been, when he/she really turns to God and sincerely repents and turns to Jesus, God is well pleased. God wants to love all people, but not all people are willing to play their part by true repentance. An open door is waiting with free pardon.  If we confess our sins god is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The passage closes telling of a woman losing a coin, which although not worth a lot moneywise, it was equal to a day’s wage.  It was not difficult to lose a coin but difficult to find.  The house would be small with an earth floor covered with reeds and rushes, and there would be a small round window to give little light.  Trying to find a coin in such conditions was hard, and despite s weeping the floor it looked totally lost. It was a matter of desperation to the woman, and she could no give in. These people needed food and were living on the edge, and without finding the coin there would be no food.

But there was also a romantic reason. In Palestine the mask of a married woman was a head-dress of ten silver coins linked together to form a chain. For years a girl would save up to collect the coins for her head-dress, which was like the equivalent of our wedding ring.  When she had it, tis was a treasure and could not be taken away.  This may be the reason for which she was so disturbed over and longed to find.  She searched so hard as a woman today would for a lost ring. She did in the end find it and clutched it in her hand, full of joy and finding it.  God said Jesus is like that and filled with joy her one sinner returns to him, and all the angels in heaven rejoice, like the woman who recovered her precious possession which had value beyond the value of money

No Pharisee had ever dreamed of a God like that.  A Jewish scholar realized that this was a new way which Jesus taught people about God-that God actually sought sinners. The Jew might have realized if a man came crawling home in self-abasement, and kneeled before God praying for pity, he might find it  A Jew could never have taught of a God who sought sinners.  It is our glory that we believe in the seeking love of God because we have that love in Jesus Christ the Son of God who came to seek and sav the lost

May God bless his Holy Word to us and may his Holy Name be praised

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