Lost and Found {Luke 15}

12:00 AM

By Becky Bramlett Austin

Have you ever lost something that was very important? Do you remember how diligently you searched for it?  Did you think about anything else?  Did you search the same areas over and over again?  

And do you remember the relief, the pure joy, the celebration that came naturally when you finally found what you had been seeking so earnestly to find?

I think we all can relate to such a situation.  When the Scribes and Pharisees criticized Jesus for allowing sinners and publicans near him, he told three Lost and Found stories that even today we can universally relate to:

1.  THE LOST SHEEP:  Sheep can get lost easily. In that day, a shepherd was very protective of all of the fold.  He was their protection from the elements, from the dangerous terrain, and from the wildlife that would devour them. If a single sheep strayed from the others, it was extremely vulnerable and wouldn’t know how to find its way back.  So too are those lost in their sins. They don’t know how to protect themselves from the dangers around them or how to save themselves.  David could relate: “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, For I do not forget your commandments. (Psalm 119:176)” It’s interesting that he uses the active words “Seek”.  That is what Jesus does for us.  He actively seeks and pursues us. For thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I Myself will search for my sheep and seek them out. (Ezekial 34:11)  And Jesus further emphasizes seeking after even one: “ What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?”  Jesus came into “our dangerous wilderness”, taking on the form of a human in a very dark, cruel world just to find and save each of us. And when he finds us there is incredible joy and celebration. And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. “And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. (v6)”

THE LOST COIN: “what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?”  No one wants to lose their hard earned money.  I’m sure the woman in this story felt the impact of losing one of her 10 coins.  I can imagine that she left no crevice unchecked, no item unturned.  If it took her hours and hours, I’m sure that finding that coin took full priority and all of her attention.  Again, we see the active seeking as in the first story and also the gathering of friends and celebration when the lost coin is found.  Can you imagine God seeking you diligently because he values you dearly? “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)”

But what about the second son.  He does not rejoice that relationship has been restored between the Father and the first son. His focus is on criticizing and judging his brother.  The scribes and Pharisees were doing the same when they criticized Jesus for allowing the sinners to gather near him.  Instead, they should have been rejoicing that these “sinners” were interested in changing their hearts toward God. Are we guilty of the same?  Do we know how to truly rejoice when others draw near to God? Do we gossip and criticize or do we pray for and hope for God to work in every heart we encounter? Do we realize that Jesus came to die for every human being and as the old hymn says, “the ground is level at the foot of the cross.” Rejoice, my friend, if you were lost and now are found! Rejoice over every lost soul that is brought safely into the fold.

THE PRODIGAL SON:  2 sons.  One is given his inheritance early but he wastes it.  Destitute, and empty handed he returns to the Father.  He returns humble however and truly repentant.  The Father is so excited that his child has returned that he kills the fatted calf to celebrate the restoration of relationship.  We are like that son.  We who are given such abundant blessings and yet we squander and waste our resources on our own pursuits of selfish pleasure and ambition.  I noticed that in contrast to the other 2 stories, we don’t see the Father seek after the son.  But there was no need to. The son knew his way home and he wouldn’t have appreciated the Father coming after him. Sometimes, we need to realize that just because someone seems to be going away from God, that doesn’t mean God has given up on them.  Sometimes they know the way they should go but they have to come to the end of themselves first.  In verse 17, we see that the son came to his senses and was ready to return home. When we come to the end of ourselves, realize how empty handed we truly are and learn to value relationship with our Father above any material gain, then he graciously welcomes us with open arms into fellowship with Him. 

You Might Also Like