Pastor Doug Newell, IV
A multitude has gathered around Jesus (Luke 15:1-2). Some have come to hear Jesus, but others are more than a little upset with the Lord.
He was a man who spoke and taught with authority, who wasn’t looking up to the Scribes and Pharisees. Rather than praising them, Jesus has begun to condemn them (Luke 11:38-54). They look at Jesus and wonder how this man, who is rebuking them, of all people, can eat with sinners. He is talking to sinners and allowing them to come near and associating themselves.
Jesus, knowing their hearts, tells them a parable; a story with a point. “I got a story for you.” There was a shepherd who had a 100 sheep and he lost one. He went out and searched until he found the sheep. He picked the sheep up, carried it home, and called all his friends to rejoice with him, he found his sheep. Likewise, Heaven rejoices when the Saviour finds the lost sinner. So far, everyone nods the head in agreement. “Let me tell you another story”. There is this woman who lost 10 percent of all her money, and she turned her house upside down looking for it. By and by, she found the lost money and called everyone she knew and said “rejoice, I found my money!” Likewise, Heaven rejoices when the lost sinner is found by the Saviour. Scribes, Pharisees, and sinners all nod the head. Good stories.
Jesus has one more tale.
There was this family, a Dad and two boys. The younger boy got a little restless and wanted his inheritance cashed out so he could get out of the house. He ends up wasting all his money partying and living it up. He ends up in the gutter, eating with the hogs. Finally, he comes to his senses. “Daddy’s servants are better off than I am right now. I’ll go back home and be his slave and at least have a full belly.” So he goes back home and before he can get in the drive way, Daddy runs to him and rejoices. The lost son! “Clean the boy up, kill the calf, and throw a party, have everyone come and rejoice!” And everyone does. Everyone but the older brother. He was mad because he never left and he never had a party. Why didn’t Daddy ever throw him a party?
The Pharisees and Scribes were the elder brother. They could understand rejoicing over a found sheep, a found coin, even a found son – in the story. But in real life, they were not rejoicing. Heaven rejoiced when lost sinner are found, but they were self-righteous. They were good and deserving of honor. They would have preferred the younger brother to have remained lost so they could cluck their tongue at the poor sinner. The Pharisees didn’t rejoice that Jesus saved sinners. It’s hard to be happy at a lost sinner being saved if you really don’t think you were every lost, or needed saving.