By Jimmy R Mickells
The Pharisees and scribes complained about Jesus receiving and eating with sinners. This prompted Him to state some parables about things that were lost and then found. This is the very reason He came to this old sinful world, so sinners could be received by the Father and have fellowship with Him (Luke 19:10). Each time, when something had been lost and was found, there was rejoicing in heaven (vv. 5,6,7,9,10,23,24,32). It seems to me, there are different reasons for each thing being lost. This should be a warning to each of us.
The sheep – its own negligence (vv. 4-7). This animal had strayed from the ninety-nine and was lost. How many people are lost today because they neglect their own salvation (Hebrews 2:1-3)? They have no one to blame but themselves. In the parable of the sower, the seed that fell among the thorns, sprang up yet was choked with cares, riches and pleasures and brought no fruit to maturity (Luke 8:7,14). Does this not describe the lives of so many today? They get so involved in their personal lives, there is no time for the Lord. Many excuses are offered for their negligence, yet none will suffice when they stand before God in judgment.
The coin – the negligence of someone else (vv. 8-10). The coin was lost, but the lady was the one who misplaced it. People have gone astray because others have not fulfilled their duties and responsibilities to them. It is not enough to lead someone to Christ. We must do everything we can to ground them in truth, so when they are faced with temptations, they will be strong enough to endure. We should speak words of encouragement to them, even when reproof is necessary, it should be done in a spirit of love and humility. Every faithful member in a congregation should be loved, appreciated, and accepted by all. I’m afraid, in some churches, a few feel like they are on the outside looking in because of the way they are treated. How sad to think of someone being lost because of my negligence!
The younger son – because of his choices (vv. 11-24). He was the one who made the decision to travel into a foreign country and waste his inheritance on prodigal living. Thankfully, he finally came to himself, return to the father, and was forgiven. Have you ever made any bad decisions that involved sin? We all have done this on various occasions, for which we had to repent. Yet, there are many who have made the same bad choices, refusing to repent, continuing to live in sin. Some times pride stands in their way; they don’t want to admit they have been wrong. They may be enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season (Hebrews 11:25), refusing to give up their sinful practices. Regardless, they like the prodigal, are the ones who must come to themselves, admitting their wrong, and return to the Father who mercifully waits for them.
The older son – because of his attitude (vv. 25-32). This son could not find it in his heart to rejoice over his younger brother’s return home. He was angry and upset over the celebration the father and the servants were having because of this son’s repentance. It seems to me, this older son represents the Pharisees and scribes that were complaining because our Lord was receiving and eating with sinners. Our relationship with God is affected by the attitude we have toward other people. If we are going to receive forgiveness, then we must be willing to forgive others (Matthew 6:12,14,15). The attitude of heart, needed by all of God’s servants, is given in the sermon on the mount. We must be poor in spirit, able to mourn, meek, a people who hungers for the right things, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, and able to endure persecution (Matthew 5:3-12). God will mold us into this kind of people, if we will let Him. Simply follow His word.
If you need to repent, why not do so today? Angels in heaven will rejoice over your repentance. And I’m sure, that good brethren, who love the Lord and souls of men, will rejoice as well.