4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that 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.
This chapter is so timely! Or should I say this is not just the chapter to read today, but it is God’s message for me. Truth, Repentance, and Faith was our topic today in my Training for Victory class, and most of our discussions were about Repentance. In here, Jesus said that a sinner needs to repent and those who haven’t repent yet are considered lost. I know that being with Christ, I am already found, but I believe every sin that is not repented would cause me to be far from Jesus and leave His flock again. As a follower of Jesus I must be fully secured with His flock that no matter how pleasing I see the life outside His stewardship, I must not leave. I must live a bold and personal life with my shepherd that wherever He go, I should go. In the previous Chapter (Chapter 10), He asked me to leave and be with the wolves for He knows that by His grace I am secured already. For me, Jesus is saying that He is confident that I will never leave His side anymore, and that if ever I lost my way and lose sight of my shepherd, He will still search for me not just one time but over and over again for every sheep is loved by the shepherd.
8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
To be honest, sometimes, when I know the story already I have the tendency to skip reading it, this chapter has only 3 stories and yet I know all of it ever since my childhood days, but as the bible says, “every word is a breathe of God” so I pray before reading and these simple old stories became new and meaningful.
In this story about the lost coin, in a literal manner, Jesus was saying that when we lose one coin, we make an effort to find it same thing with the lost sheep, but as I read this time, I see the words that I believe God wants me to understand.
First words, “Light a lamp”. We can’t see in darkness that’s why Jesus came and His words are a lamp unto our feet and a lamp unto our paths. Without Jesus in our lives we can’t see clearly, if we haven’t see Jesus first then how can we then find the lost? A blind can’t lead his fellow blind.
“Sweep the house.” We need to be clean from everything; we must repent first and turn to Jesus. We must let go of the impurities that we have for we will be with a pure, righteous, and holy God. Our ruin, old and dirty clothes are just good for a floor map or rags. We must put on new clothes that is freely given by Christ for us to distinguish who among us are still rags and new.
“Search carefully.” We have seen the light in Christ, we are clean already and now searching is made easy. Jesus didn’t say, search carefully, sweep and open the lights; instead He said, look to me, obey me, and the things that you are looking for will be easily found. This reminded me of the verse, “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”
“Rejoice with me!” This is the best part – Rejoicing. When we have found our mission here on earth in obedience to Christ, Jesus said, with Him we can rejoice to infinity and beyond.
The best thing about not skipping the common and famous bible stories, is finding a new meaning from it every time you read it.
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
Who doesn’t know this story? I even portrayed as one of the lost son’s friends in one of our stage drama back in one of our Bible Vacation School. But now that I am 22 more than 15 years after I get sick of hearing this story, I discovered more than the story of the welcoming arms of a loving father for his prodigal son.
God revealed another meaning of this story to me using the words of a pastor that I haven’t met – Mr. Joshua Harris in his book Dug, Down, Deep. As we repent and turn back to God, we have been saved, and the important aspects of God’s saving work are called justification and adoption.
In the courtroom of his justice, we rightly deserve punishment. And this is why Christ had to die, to receive the punishment.
Yes, the Father should punish his son for wasting his riches, for disobedience, and for not honoring him. The son was guilty before his father, he was faced down, he knows he deserves punishment.
While justification borrows the language of the courtroom to help us understand God’s work of salvation, adoption uses the language of family to help us see that behind all of God’s saving work is a deeply relational and personal motive of love. In Christ we are not forgiven servants . We are given all the rights and privileges of natural-born children. We are adopted and welcomed into the warmth of relationship with God as our loving Father.
The father run towards his son, hugged him, give him the best robe, and feasted for his return. He never punished him and he still look at him as his child. The child was not demoted as a slave, but he was welcomed the same as he leave – the son of the Father. This is love.
Allow me to borrow Mr. Harris lines for this also happened to me, “For too long the news that Jesus died for my sins had no real meaning. ” I was born in a religious and God-fearing family that I met Jesus at a very young age until I get so immune that what He did for me doesn’t make sense anymore, but I’m grateful for the Father who never failed to welcome His lost children in open arms. Because if it’s not for His justice and love, I am still a slave of the world. I’m grateful that I am worthy to be called His child and that I am still a princess in His Kingdom. In His open arms, I know I am home.