Monday, April 16, 2007


Throughout the book of Luke, the Gospel writer is constantly pointing out the fact that Jesus spent time with the sinners of His day. It also makes it clear that the more He hung out with sinners, the more the religious leaders criticized Him for it. In Luke 15, Jesus gets hit with the same controversy. As the Pharisees again hurl their legalistic assaults at Jesus, He uses two stories to show why He associates with the sinners of the community.

He first tells a story that every man in the crowd can understand. It is about a shepherd who loses a sheep. If Jesus were telling the story in our culture today He may talk of a man who loses his Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card. We could relate to that. Jesus says that the man goes back out into the wilderness after dark to find his lost sheep. After finding the lost sheep, he rejoices and calls all of his shepherd friends to rejoice with him. He then tells the story of a woman who loses a coin. Today Jesus may talk about the wife who loses her wedding ring. It would be very similar. This women spares no effort or expense in searching her house until she finds the lost coin and then she calls all of her friends so that they can rejoice with her.

From these two stories Jesus reveals three reasons why He hangs out with sinners. First, because they are lost and very valuable to Him. The sheep was lost and very valuable to the shepherd. The coin was lost and very valuable to the woman. People are lost and very valuable to God. That is why He came to seek and to save those who are lost (Luke 19:10).

Second, Jesus associates with lost people because He is willing to go through infinite trouble to find lost people. The shepherd was willing to go out into the dark, dangerous wilderness to find the lost sheep. The woman was willing to light a lamp (which cost money to burn the oil) and sweep her house until she found the lost coin. Jesus was willing to go through extreme trouble, even the trouble, pain and agony of the cross, to find lost people.

Finally, Jesus spent time with sinners because nothing brings more joy to the portals of heaven then when a lost person becomes found. The shepherd rejoiced with his friends when the sheep was found. The women rejoiced with her friends when the coin was found. In the same way, every time someone repents and comes to Christ, heaven rejoices. The announcement is made by the Triune God and it all breaks lose. Celestial balloons and confetti begin to fall. Trumpets are sounded. Angelic beings spread their wings. Saints who have gone before us shout and celebrate with such volume that it sounds like great peals of thunder. The dancing begins. The food flows. The joy abounds. The party is on!

Think about it. This happens every time a lost person gets found. Thousands of lost people get found every day by placing their faith in Christ. What does that tell you about heaven? Folks, it is one non-stop party. If you think heaven is an eternal nap on a cloud while listening to non-stop harp playing, you’re wrong. Here’s my question. If this is how heaven responds when lost people get saved, who cancelled the party on earth in the church? Nothing should bring more joy to Grace Church than lost people being found! Let the party begin!

No comments: