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Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Loving Father and His Sons

A Loving Father and His Sons

Luke 15:11-32

Prior to Jesus telling this story of the prodigal son, the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around Jesus to hear him. The Pharisees and all the teachers of the Law were also there muttering against Jesus because He was welcoming these sinners. Jesus begins telling three parables about the “lost and found.” God lets every Word be established by two or three witnesses. In these three parables, Jesus is making it clear to both the Jewish leaders and teachers of the Law as well as the sinners and tax collectors that all--including the one lost--have value in His sight. Jesus illustrated this in the parable of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Lost Son. When each of these were found, there was rejoicing. Jesus came to seek and save those who are lost! These three parables are three but they are one in Truth.

In the parable of the Lost Sheep, the shepherd left the 99 and went to seek the one lost. When He found the sheep, He carried it on His shoulders until they reached home. The sinners and tax collectors could identify with the lost sheep in this parable. But the righteous Pharisees and teachers of the Law identified with the 99. Jesus is speaking to both in this parable. Jesus is the Great Shepherd who carries a sinner back to the father and his house. One lost sheep is as important to Jesus as all those who believe in Him already. Jesus said, “I tell you, in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” v7 God created mankind in His own image and likeness. Every person is valuable to God because of this. The host of heaven rejoices when one sinner returns to the Heavenly Father through His chosen and precious Son Jesus. The Pharisees criticize Jesus for welcoming sinners and eating with them.

In the parable of the Lost Coin, a woman loses one of her ten silver coins. Silver is the metal of atonement. This coin is a treasure to this woman. This Woman represents the Bride of Christ. This Woman lights a lamp and sweeps (cleanses) the house to search carefully until she finds the lost coin. Light is needed to find the lost! The Light of Jesus and His Word will seek and find those who are lost and the darkness of sin. This Woman is determined to seek and find the lost silver coin. She will search for it until she finds it, just as Jesus searches for those who are lost and finds them, and then He atones for their sin. The Pharisees and teachers of the Law would understand what Jesus is saying because before the Passover meal is served, the woman of each household would light a candle and cleanse the house of all leaven. Leaven represents sin in scripture. So the spiritual message here is that we need to allow the Light of Jesus to shine upon our sin and cleanse us from all defilement. The lost sheep was as important to the male shepherd as the other 99. The lost coin of the female was also as valuable as the other nine. Both a male in the story of the lost sheep and a female in the parable of the lost coin sought the lost. Jesus came to seek all of the lost -- whether male or female, Jew or Greek (Gentile). He wants both the men and women who love and follow Him to seek the lost.

The word righteous is not used in this parable. The Pharisees no doubt believed that they were the nine coins that were not lost. Again, Jesus says, “I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” v10 The host of heaven rejoices when this one who was lost is now found. Jesus wants us to seek and bring the lost to Him and then rejoice with Him because they are no longer lost.

The sheep was lost in the field, outside of the house. This represents those who are lost outside of the Father’s House --the unsaved. This sheep could also be a wandering sheep out of His own flock. To those who are lost outside of the house in the field, Jesus will carry them back to the Father and His House. The coin is lost in the house. The Pharisees are in the Father’s temple. Jesus is using this parable to show them that there are even those who are lost within the Father’s House. To these, Jesus will use the Light of His Anointed Word to search their hearts and cleanse until the one who has lost his way is found and joins the others as His treasure. Jesus is teaching both the taxpayers and sinners and the Pharisees and teachers of the Law that He is the One who seeks to save the lost (safety) and restores them to their rightful place with the others who are saved. In the parable of the lost coin, Jesus says that He wants her friends and neighbors to rejoice with Him over this lost coin that was found. Then Jesus says that there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. [Article continues. Click here to read full article in PDF format...→]

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