March 16, 2015
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Then Jesus told them this parable: “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? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 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.
“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? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
“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. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
“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! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 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.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“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. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.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. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
“‘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.’”
LISTEN TO HIM
These stories offer almost endless opportunities and possibilities for learning and reflection. If you think you’ve “been there and done that and gotten the t-shirt” as relates to chapter 15 of Luke, you can be assured you have not. This is a text for one’s whole life. We need to hear that echo from Transfiguration Mountain when the Father told us to LISTEN TO HIM.
Because the text was so lengthy today I will be brief with the reflection. I want to focus on the short speeches made by the two different sons to their Father.
Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’
‘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.
Son #1 knew he was a son though he lived in the “Far Country.” Son #2 had forgotten he was a son though he lived in his Father’s house.
Son #1 knew he needed mercy. Son #2 felt he deserved a celebration. knew nothing about mercy.
Son #1 was willing to forfeit his sonship in order to be a servant. Son #2 actually did forfeit his sonship in order to be a servant.
Son #1 never imagined getting a celebration. Son #2 could not bring himself to go to the party.
Both sons were lost, though only one knew it. Only one son was found.
It’s often most difficult for those closest to home to come inside.
We don’t have a God who is looking for servants. We have a Father who is in search of sons and daughters.
Don’t settle for the servants’ quarters. Keep praying. . . .
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.