For the next 3 weeks, we will look at some of the most well-known chapters from the New Testament together, seeking to allow these chapters to remind us and teach us how to live as followers of Jesus.
Luke 15 has three stories in it about lost things or people. Take a moment and read this chapter.
The point of the stories is fairly obvious, but just to make sure we are all on the same page…Here’s what I think Jesus is trying to say:
When confronted by a group of Pharisees and teachers of the law who are upset that Jesus is eating with sinners, Jesus lets them know that God is interesting in helping sinners. The lost are found. The dead are made alive again. Everything God has, he wants us to have–life, joy, love, and so much more.
I will grant you that that is a very simplified explanation–but I think Jesus wanted us to have a very simple version to understand. That’s why he told these stories. Whether you are a lost sheep, lost coin, lost first son, or lost second son, God is searching for you! He is ready to run out to meet you on the road! He is ready to celebrate and throw a feast when you turn to him!
Last week, we examined the chapter of love in 1 Corinthians 13. In many ways, this is a chapter about love too. Because God loves us! He wants us all to be in the flock. He wants all his children to know that he is ready to give them what they need. And God is certainly ready to celebrate when something that was lost becomes found.
So, what does this teach us? What does it mean for us? Well, it means quite a lot, actually. Because God also has a desire for us to become like him. To do the kinds of things that God does. To be like God.
The early church knew this which is why they are always talking about imitating Jesus. In the Gospel of John, there are references to this all over the place (such as John 13:12-15; 13:34; 15:9-11). It is in Paul’s letters (Philippians 2:3-8; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 3:13). Other writers or books in the New Testament say the same (1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6) and so much more.
We are to imitate Jesus because Jesus is like God! Which means that we should be on the lookout for lost things and people! This should be one of the most important things that we do! So often, we get distracted by programs, interpretations, drama, and gossip, when really there is much work to be done to imitate Christ. To seek out those sinners (who are just like us) whom the Pharisees and teachers of the law were grumbling about.
The chapter of lost things teaches us that there is much rejoicing in heaven when a sinner comes to the Lord–much more so even than 99 righteous persons who have no need of repentance.
Let us be imitators of Jesus and seek out the lost. And may we rejoice greatly when even one is found.