Posts Tagged ‘Heaven’

Luke 15:1-10 The Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin

September 2, 2009

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

15:1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

The Parable of the Lost Coin

8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, [1] if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

  • One person’s celebration can be really annoying for someone else, especially if they don’t understand the reason for the party.” N.T. Wright
  • Jesus was celebrating.  The pharisees and the legal experts were annoyed.  Why was Jesus celebrating and why were the Pharisees annoyed?
  • The Pharisees and legal experts were annoyed because of who Jesus was celebrating with.  Tax-collectors and sinners.
  • The tax-collectors were disliked for obvious reasons.  No one really likes them.  They collected money for either Herod or the Romans, or both.  In addition they would most likely be in contact with Gentiles which would make them unclean.
  • The term sinners here in verse 1 could mean an assortment of people.  However, they were people who the self-appointed experts deemed irreligious and unrighteous according to their version of the Mosaic law.
  • Of course Jesus is not implying in this chapter that such people (tax-collectors and sinners) should be accepted as they stand.  They were expected to repent.  The lost sheep and lost coin were found.  However, Jesus’ understanding of repentance was different from his critics.
  • To the Pharisees repentance meant that people must adopt their standards of purity and law-observance.  To Jesus, one only had to follow him and follow his way.  Jesus also seems to be implying in this passage that the Pharisees and legal experts themselves need to repent.  Read verse 7, perhaps there is some sarcasm in this statement. The ninety-nine righteous persons who don’t need to repent.  Yeah right.
  • “The point of the parables is then clear.  This is why there’s a party going on: all heaven is having a party, the angels are joining in, and if we don’t have one as well we’ll be out of tune with God’s reality.” N.T. Wright
  • The Jews believed that heaven and earth were meant to be together.  What happened in heaven should happen on earth.  The closest the Jews could get to heaven was the Temple.  But only the priests could access the Temple and only through strict purity requirements.  The closest the non-priests could get to heaven was to maintain a strict purity and observance of the law in every aspect of their life.
  • Jesus was now declaring that heaven was having a great party every time a single sinner repented.  If we want to get close to heaven then we better have a party too.  That is exactly what Jesus was doing.
  • The sheep and coin weren’t themselves special.  However, they were lost.  Imagine how these parables made the repentant tax-collectors and sinners feel.  God went searching for them even though they were sinners.  And then celebrated when he found them.   How encouraging!!
  • “And what Jesus did – this is the deepest point of these parables, and the ultimate reason why the Pharisees objected to them – was what God was doing.  Jesus’ actions on earth correspond exactly to God’s love in the heavenly realm.”  N.T. Wright
  • Does the world see me celebrating and get annoyed?  Am I actively searching for those lost sheep and lost coins?  Do my actions on a day to day basis correspond with God’s love?  Its time to throw a party.