“My son,” the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 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.”
Luke 15:31-32 (NIV)
Reading: Luke 15:11-32
[The following post was first published on 2nd February 2016 under the title ‘Lost and found’].
Consider: Luke 15 contains three parables about something that was lost and later found:
the lost sheep (v1-7);
the lost coin (v8-10);
the lost (prodigal) son (v11-32).
In Luke 15 we read that Jesus told these parables to a group that included tax collectors and sinners, together with some Pharisees and teachers of the law (Luke 15:1-2). Although speaking to such a diverse group of people, the parables he used had something to say to each person there.
In the parables about the lost sheep and the lost coin the people concerned spent a considerable amount of energy and time finding what had been lost. The parable of the lost son is different to the other two parables in at least one respect. Reading Luke 15 you can see that in the case of the lost son the father didn’t look for the son. However, we read in verse 20 that ‘… 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 round him and kissed him.’ Here was a father who was waiting patiently for his son to return to him. The passage in Luke tells us that the son finally came to his senses and only then did he decide to go home.
In all three parables the reaction to finding what had been lost was to have a celebration. In the first two parables Jesus spiritualises the message by saying that there will be rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents. So the parables aren’t really about things being lost, they are about things being found; about people being found.
The parable of the lost son is a picture of someone who comes to his senses, repents and returns to his father. The spiritual message is clear. God as our Father waits patiently for people to come to their senses, to repent and to return to him. God rejoices over every single person who returns to him. Have you realised that when you commit your life to Christ you become an object of rejoicing in heaven (each individual is of significance and importance to God).
Are you like the Pharisees and teachers of the law who muttered against Jesus. They missed the point that they were just as lost as the tax collectors and sinners. Jesus’ message of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son apply to us all. Without Christ we are all lost. God is like the lost son’s father, waiting expectantly for us to return to him and seek his forgiveness and blessing. Do you know in your heart that God cares about you as an individual?
Pray: Father, we know that there is rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents. May we rejoice with you when people put their trust in your Son, Jesus Christ. We pray for those who are currently lost, that they may come to their senses and repent, seeking your forgiveness and blessing. Amen