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vv.4-7. God is passionate with humanity, and wants them back home to where they belong. He will do all within His power working with the will of man. If man wills for God, He will be found of them in personal way beyond their imagination, and he will know the love of God. He will discover the riches of Christ in glory, and his life will be preserved and saved.
The shepherd, who has one hundred sheep in his fold, is missing one of them. He leaves the ninety-nine in the sheepfold, and goes after the lost and lonely sheep. The ninety-nine are very important to him, but in term of the lonely and wandering sheep, they are not his concern right now. He devotes his time, energy and mind to look for the missing sheep, and when he finds it, he keeps it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
He comes home and says to his family and friends, “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep that was lost.” Even so, there will be joy, celebration and merriment over one sinner that has repented and come home to God than ninety-nine righteous men who do not need repentance. Verse 7 is the clincher here in this paragraph, and He says, “There will be joy in heaven over one sinner that repents, than ninety-nine righteous men who need no repentance, but they are already in the family of God.”
vv.8-11. The woman has ten pieces of silver coins, and cannot find one of them. The silver coins are extremely important to her, and she is beside her self. It becomes a point of distress for her until she finds it. The nine coins are dear to her, but that is not what is occupying her heart at the moment. She searches all over the house, ransacking every possible place that the coin may be. She looks in the hidden and dark places with her light, and searches high and low without finding it.
When at last she finds it, she is overcome with emotion, and begins to shed tears of joy. She calls her friends and neighbors together for a time of celebration, joy and merriment. She has found the piece that was missing. Verse 10 is the clincher, and Christ says, “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that has repented, and come home to the Father.” Who are rejoicing here? Is it God, those 24 Elders and His attendance? I believe that they are God, the host around His throne, and the four living Creatures in the presence of the holy angels.
If you are living today, and the grace of God has come to you in Christ, and you are a child of heaven, then you should be joyful like your Father, when a soul is converted and become the child of heaven. Do all within your power as the light of God beams across your path to be the one who turns sinners to the God of heaven. The Bible says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins soul is wise.” (Prov.11:30)
vv.11-32. Here Jesus brings us to the conclusion of His illustrations by using an example of the family of a father, and his two sons. It brings home the heart of the stories, and makes it more alive to His, in order to support His point, that God is so passionate about sinners who turn their hearts towards home to Him. The Pharisees, who are the religious leaders in v.2, and the older brother of v.25 are the same people. They think that God is unfair and unjust because for the Ted Bundy and Jack, the reaper of this world, like sinners, the prostitutes, the publicans, and the wayward, wasteful, vagabond son, deserve no mercy.
The second son of this father comes to him and demanding his share of the legacy. This act should have been done at his father’s death, and not while his father is still alive. This is an insult to the father, and it is disrespectful of his care and love. Nevertheless, he divides the legacy, and gives him his portion. (v.12) He takes off into a far country, far away from his father, loaded with riches and wealth, but he forgets that his father’s love is greater than wealth.
He settles down in a certain city, and makes tons of friends because of his riches. When you are rich and famous, the whole world wants a piece of you, and eats at your table, but when the pot of gold is dried up, the world forgets you, and throw away what is left of you. You become a casualty and history.
The golden goose keeps on laying the eggs, and when the goose dies, the game is over. As far as the rich boy is concerned, the pot of gold keeps on giving, and because it is not being replenished, it dries up. Suddenly, all who were once friends seized to be friends, and reality sets in. They become enemies and strangers, but they were friends because of the money. They have forgotten the former benefactor, who was so generous with his wealth and riches.
The younger son at this time finds himself alone, greatly in need of something to eat, shelter and clothing, but no one remembers him. That is the game the world plays on the penniless son, who was one time rich and wealthy. In v.14, the Scripture says, “When he has spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.” No one would remember him. All forsook and turn away from him. He desires food so much that the husks that pigs eat are delicacies to him by reason of his hunger and want. Why? All forsook him, and no one gave him something to eat. (v.17)
Every human being will come to himself several times in life, and when the one time rich man comes to himself, he realizes that his father has many servants who live on decent meals way better that what the pigs are eating. They have enough to eat and to spare, but here he is begging for the pigs’ portion. (v.17) Sin sometimes reduces the sinner to a pig, and makes him twice the son of hell, who lives on the streets and in the gutters of this world.
The man who has spent his legacy on lavished lifestyle says to himself, “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, father, I have sinned against heaven, and before you. I am no more worthy to be called your son: make me as one of your hired servants.” He starts with his father saying, “give me”, but he returns to him, saying, “make me”. (vv.12 and 19)
He puts his thoughts into words and actions, but before he could speak, the father sees him a far off. He has compassion on him, and runs to him, falls on his neck, and kisses him. The wayward son repeats what he said in the pigs’ barn face to face before his father. (v.21) The prayers of his father that has gone before him, and the Spirit of God brought him to his right mind. Like the young people of today’s generation, they are not in their mind, but through prayers and the mercy of God, they can have their right mind back. Like the previous verses of 7 and 10, here in vv.22-24, the mercy of God prevailed, and there are celebrations, merriment, parties and rejoicing over one sinner that has returned home to God.
The heart of what Jesus Christ is saying here in the entire chapter 15 is not the Pharisees, Sadducees, the older brother, the shepherd, the women with the 10 pieces of silver coin, nor the father of the wayward son, but God, the Father, who loves humanity, regardless of how sins have destroyed and devastated their lives. It is all about God and His mercy, compassion, grace and loving care for sinners. We can be creative, and let our minds run wild, still, is not about us, but God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do not forget this very one fact that it is God who shows mercy, and not the things we have conjured up in our minds.
We have no chance of surviving in this world if not for the goodness of God. So the shepherd, the lady with the coins and the loving father of the wayward son all represent the God, Father. Since Christ is primarily concerned with catching men for God, and turning them into citizens of heaven, we must know that it takes sheep to give birth to sheep. Shepherds do not give birth to sheep, and he has a different responsibility. However, we are all the sheep of the Lord Jesus Christ, and ministers are all His under-shepherds. He is the Chief Shepherd.
The Shepherd provides security, green grass, medicine, warmth, shelter and all the necessity of life for his sheep. There are other ways the Five-Fold Ministry produce the sheep, but it is the responsibility of the sheep to give birth to sheep and ewe lambs. If the shepherd does his duty, the will give birth to sheep automatically. God has ordained it so.
Comparing v.2 to v.25, the Pharisees and the elder brother are one and the same in Luke.15. Even so are the millions in Christendom who think that God should be exclusive to them. They have not known the heart of God, the Father, let alone the mercy and compassion the Father has for all of His children. In vv.25-28, the older son is angry and he disowns his brother, calling him names. (v.30)
The older brother who is the child of God, think that the Father should be exclusive to him, and not to be shared with none, especially the wayward younger brother in this story. The Pharisees and the older brother have misrepresented God to the world, and Christ came to set right their misconception of God. Whatever the Father has now belongs to them, and their love and compassion, as the children of God, should include the prodigal children of the world as partakers of the resources and inheritance of heaven.
We have a cause to celebrate and include all the children of God who are home, and those who are heading towards home to the Father in the celebration and rejoicing before the presence of God on earth and in heaven. We are to make merry, be glad, rejoice and celebrate before the presence of God. Our brothers have come home, and they have been resurrected back to live. They were lost, and now have been found. They are home with God forever and ever, and they shall be called the children of God. (vv.31-32)