Luke 15 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible; it never gets old, it always leaves me in awe. I can never quite get over God’s Grace in pursuing the likes of us.
The religious leaders are disgusted with the company this Man, Jesus, keeps. Shouldn’t He know better than to associate with such worthless, seedy sinners?
Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. 2 Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them,” (15:1-2).
And rather than chastising them for their hypocrisy, Jesus shares a uniquely astonishing portrayal of the amazing and inexplicable grace of His Father. With three parables He reveals the heart of the Father for the lost; three parables with one truth. The Father loves and Goes After the Lost.
Consider Him Who Goes After the Lost
- He Goes After the Lost, leaving the ninety-nine for the one.
- “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” (15:4).
- He Goes After the Lost, carefully searching until the lost is found.
- “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?” (15:8).
- He Goes After the Lost, eagerly watching in readiness and compassion.
- “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him,” (15:22).
- He Goes After the Lost, unashamedly rejoicing when the lost is found.
- “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 which was lost!’” (15:5).
- “When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’” (15:9).
- “But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate,” (15:22-24).
- He Goes After the Lost, anticipating the celebration in heaven.
- “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance,” (15:7).
- “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents,” (15:10).
- “’But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found,’” (15:32).
How do we respond to Him Who Goes After the Lost?
In the parable of the Prodigal Son, we see the only possible response… repentance. The younger son’s response is a vivid description of repentance.
- He came to his senses and realized his condition apart from his father.
- “But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!’” (15:17).
- He made a willful decision to repent.
- “’I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men,”’ (15:18-19).
- He did not delay to act on his willful decision.
- “So he got up and came to his father,” (15:20).
- He humbled himself, acknowledging his sin against God and his father.
- “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son,’” (15:21).
In the parable of the Prodigal Son, we also see a vivid description of the results of repentance.
“But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate,’” (15:22-24).
When we repent we are rescued:
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, (Colossians 1:13-14).
When we repent we are reconciled:
And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, (Colossians 1:21-23).
When we repent we are rewarded:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, (Ephesians 1:3).
When we consider His great grace and lovingkindness it seems unthinkable we would seek after anything else. But the sad truth is, we often, like the Prodigal Son, choose our sin and rebellion over Him.
Today let us consider His heart for us.
Let us come to our senses quickly and willfully determine to come to Him in repentance and confession, that we would be rescued, reconciled and rewarded by Him Who Goes After the Lost.