Read Luke 15:1-7
This great chapter of the Bible contains three parables. All three have a similar bottom line message, but each of them has its own unique nuances. All three parables were spoken in response to the muttering of Pharisees and teachers in verse 2.
Did you catch that muttering that evoked the response from Jesus? They were saying to one another, perhaps under their breath and behind closed doors, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Indeed, that was an accurate assessment. Jesus was not afraid to spend time with people of reputation. But these were the people with whom the prideful Pharisees and teachers would not be caught dead. How could Christ justify intentionally choosing to be with people who lived such blatantly immoral lives?
His first response included what was then an everyday story about a shepherd and his 100 sheep. The shepherd obviously treasured each of the sheep. The value he ascribed to them is depicted in at least two ways:
- His all out search for one that strayed.
- The party he throws upon finding the missing sheep.
Of course, this everyday story gives us insights into the heart of God. He loved every person in the world so much that He was willing to sacrifice the One most precious to Him. He wanted to see those separated from Him restored to Him. Through Christ, He went on an all-out search and rescue mission to bring individual members of straying mankind back to safety. While we as humans may describe people in terms of the severity of their sin, He as God sees each of us as sinners worthy of search and rescue.
There is no one beyond the limits of the grace of God. We must not only rejoice in our salvation but purpose, like Christ, to be a conduit of grace to others . . . regardless of their perceived morality or immorality. And when a single person repents, we should join in the party!