Read Luke 15:1-32
To what lengths would you go for the sake of money? Years ago, we accidentally threw a bank envelope with five $100 bill in it into the trash. Yes, it made it all the way to the garbage truck and to the transfer station where the city’s trash was collected. Finally, realizing it, we called ahead and they dumped the whole load in a separate pile for me to go through bag by bag. Indeed, after two hours of smelly searching, I found the envelope and went home and celebrated.
To what lengths would you go to in order to find lost money? Or what about your livestock or a family pet? Perhaps even more sacrificial, to what lengths have you gone to for the sake of a family member?
These were the kinds of examples Jesus used to illustrate His willingness to search for and rescue lost people. He broke the mold of the expected and the permitted in His day. He did what other self-respecting religious leaders refused to do. He spent time with tax collectors and sinners. In case you missed it, it was this reality that set the backdrop for the three stories of lost things found in this chapter.
Truth be told, these tax gatherers and sinners were viewed as hopeless and untouchable. The scribes and Pharisees apparently gave them a wide berth as they intentionally avoided them. These religious leaders never asked the question of whether they were reachable. For them, that was never a consideration. Maybe they assumed that they were too far gone or that they could never change or that they were beyond their perceived limits of God’s grace. Whatever the reasons, they seemed to label the tax collectors and sinners as “hopeless” and Christ, because of His efforts, as “foolish.”
But Jesus ignored the labels and offered them hope! He sought them out and welcomed them in. He compared His efforts to the logic of a shepherd crossing the countryside in search of a lost sheep. His efforts were like that of a woman who went on a desperate search for lost money, or of a man watching for his rebellious son to return.
To what length will we go for the sake of those hopelessly lost? In our answer, you and I must never forget that someone set out in search for a hopeless soul like us!