Tuesday, May 06, 2014

A Passion for the Lost

Luke 15

If “lost” people matter to Jesus, they ought to matter to us.
Members of the religious establishment objected to Jesus rubbing elbows with certain types of people. They said, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 

Jesus countered with three lost and found stories. 

A shepherd discovers one of his hundred sheep missing. He leaves the 99 to search
for this helpless animal who could never find its way back. Most animals have teeth, claws, shells, quills or speed but sheep are defenseless. They get lost easily, too. (Luke 15:4-7)

In the same way we are helpless to rescue ourselves from our sin. Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way.” 

God loves you as an individual. Jesus said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7)

Just as the shepherd set out to find his lost sheep, Jesus wants us to take the initiative in seeking out lost people.

A woman loses one of her ten silver coins. She lights a lamp and sweeps the house till she finds it. (Luke 15:8-10) Whenever we misplace something we need it becomes the highest priority in your life at that moment. Jesus wants us to take extraordinary measures to bring people into His Kingdom even though, like the coin, they don't know they are lost.

A lost son returns home to a hero's welcome. Every time something lost was recovered there was a celebration but this last story must have been hard for the Pharisees to swallow. The sheep and the coin had economic value but this was a wasteful, disobedient son who brought shame upon his family. He left home with his inheritance and spent it all on sinful living. (Luke 15:11-21)

Instead of a stern lecture, however, the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:11-24)

This ought to be our attitude towards those outside the church.

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