14th Sunday after Pentecost | September 15, 2019
15 Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. 2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!
3 So Jesus told them this story: 4 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. 6 When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!
8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”
Luke 15:1-10 New Living Translation (NLT)
As we near the 3/4 mark of the gospel of Luke, Jesus is beginning to irritate the Pharisees and the other teachers of the religious law. These guys had wonderful knowledge of the Jewish scriptures and yet struggled with compassion. The Pharisees were upset that Jesus was spending way too much time with who they considered sinners – not worthy of the grace of God.
Jesus tells two stories, one of a shepherd who has 100 sheep. In the culture, owning 100 sheep would make you a rich man. In counting the sheep for the night, the man discovers just one sheep is missing. He leaves the 99 safe sheep and goes to search for the one lost sheep. The man uses all his resources to find the one lost sheep. When he finds the sheep, he tells all his neighbors that he has found the lost sheep.
In the second story, Jesus tells of a woman who has 10 coins and loses one. She searches the whole house and leaves no corner or mattress unturned and finally finds the coin. She also calls all her friends and family and tells them she has found the coin.
Jesus reminds us that the same thing happens when one who is lost spiritually is found. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. We are reminded that the well don’t need a doctor, but it is the sick. Jesus calls us to go to where the lost are – to seek them out – so they can be found – and when they are found the whole of heaven can rejoice.