All Standers know well the chapter of Luke where Jesus teaches us the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin, and the lost son.
What is not well understood is who Jesus was teaching this to, and why.
1 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were gathering around to listen to Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered……..Luke 15
Luke reveals it was the Pharisees and the Scribes that created such a protest, they were the ones that needed understanding. BUT, parables were used –why? Because only those with ears to hear will get full understanding.
“To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God; but to the rest it is given in parables, so that in seeing THEY MAY NOT SEE, and in hearing THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND” Luke 8:10
The crowd that had gathered was a mix of the “most righteous” and the “most unrighteous.”Those who held a belief they were so right, did not like being in the company of those who they believed were so detestable.
If Jesus was so RIGHT, what was He doing wasting His time with those so wrong?
Sound familiar? How many times are you told, “You are such a good person, you don’t deserve this? You deserve to move on and be happy with someone that deserves you. You should be equally yoked to someone who equals your good morals, nature, and character? Why would you lower yourself, your standards? Why would you degrade yourself?”
Luke 15:2 So the Pharisees and scribes began to grumble: “This man WELCOMES sinners and eats with them.”
The word I want to address is the word WELCOMES. Prosdechomai “to receive to oneself, to admit, to give access to oneself’
This word seems simple, Jesus is welcoming and allowing these sinful people to be in His presence. But the word means more than that and the teachers of the law understood something and were NOT in agreement with it. In fact, they hated it so much they grumbled in such a way that it was like a constant humming of bees.
Welcomes: prosdéxomai (“wait actively, expectantly”) means being “ready and willing” to give and receive. It expresses expectant waiting where a person is ready and willing to receive all that is hoped for. This is active “looking-for-and-waiting!”
Why was Jesus wasting His time on these sinners? Wasn’t He too good for them?
Why did the Pharisees protest to Jesus being willing and ready, waiting and expecting these sinners to change in morals, character, heart? Why do those we love object to standing for someone who has betrayed us? Why are they disqualified?
Jesus addressed the why with the parables in Luke, as well as here:
10 Later, Jesus and his disciples were having dinner at Matthew’s house. Many tax collectors and other sinners were also there. 11 Some Pharisees asked Jesus’ disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and other sinners?”
12 Jesus heard them and answered, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. 13 Go and learn what the Scriptures mean when they say, ‘Instead of offering sacrifices to me, I want you to be merciful to others.’ I didn’t come to invite good people to be my followers. I came to invite sinners.” Matthew 9:10-13 CEV
Now let’s look at the parables.
With the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son we see something. In each parable, the coin, the sheep, the son still had VALUE even though they were replaceable. There were 100 sheep, 10 coins and two brothers.
It seems understandable that we place a high value on something if it can’t be easily replaced. But the parables clearly show that to Jesus, 99 sheep didn’t remove the value of that 100th sheep. Still having 9 remaining coins didn’t lessen the value of the 10th, and having a 2nd son at home that was doing what he was expected to do, didn’t mean the father gave up on his 1st son and stopped watching with prosdéxomai (“wait actively, expectantly”)
Sin is repulsive to a righteous person. We often see the sin, and form an opinion of the whole person. But God sees the heart.
The world says they are no longer valuable, a lost cause and easily replaced. But Jesus says “Go learn what the scripture means when they say “Instead of offering sacrifice to Me, I want you to be merciful to others.” Matthew 9:13
Jesus says I want you to be MERCIFUL.
This word is éleos and it translating OT 2617 /kataisxýnō, means: “covenant-loyalty, covenant-love” – properly, “mercy” as it is defined by loyalty to God’s covenant. -Strongs Concordance
“Why do You sit and eat with sinners Jesus?”
“Jesus, why do You hunt down that 1 sheep when You still have 99 more?”
“Why did You need to have that one lost coin when You still have 9 left?”
“Why do You watch the road for the son who left, when You still have a good and loyal son at home?”
“Stander, why do you Stand, remain single when you can move on and find someone else?”
Because of ELEOS! God’s loyalty to covenant relationships. God says that covenant love is valuable, worth looking for, waiting actively and expectantly for, lighting your lamp, cleaning your mess and searching for!
He doesn’t say just be ok with the remaining son, 99 sheep, or 9 coins. He doesn’t say go find a new sheep, another coin or son, or SPOUSE. He shows us in these parables that people are valuable even if they are sinners, lost and sick and He highly values them!
And this is why there is rejoicing!
7 In the same way, I tell you that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous ones who do not need to repent.
9 And when she finds it, she calls together her friends and neighbors to say, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my lost coin.’ 10In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.”
22But 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. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let us feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.
Standing with you,