September 12, 2004

Luke 15:1-10

[1] By this time a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. [2] The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, "He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends." [3] Their grumbling triggered this story.

[4] "Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn't you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? [5] When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, [6] and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, 'Celebrate with me! I've found my lost sheep!' [7] Count on it--there's more joy in heaven over one sinner's rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.

[8] "Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won't she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? [9] And when she finds it you can be sure she'll call her friends and neighbors: 'Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!' [10] Count on it--that's the kind of party God's angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God."

[The Message]

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1. Thank goodness for grumbling. It brings forth some creativity. In the midst of folks of unsavory reputation (to those in power) Jesus is practically pleased at the displeasure of the gate-keepers of tradition. Now he has a teachable moment available. They have made their point clear and now that point can be looked at through loving eyes not just my-security eyes.

For those who have an appreciation for witty music you might check out Lou and Peter Berryman and their wonderful song, Hard work and Perseverance/grim determination of the soul, for insight into the religion scholars mentality.

2. Suppose. How powerful a concept. Suppose you would do something that was so risky that no one in their right mind would do - risk [99] prone-to-wander sheep for as long as it took to find [1] already wandered sheep. This is not an economically feasible plan. This is not the currently acceptable trickle down theory at work. Suppose heaven is more excited about your poor sister's changed life than your routine life? What then? Suppose there is a payoff for providing a safety net of others that is larger than that of continuing to marginalize them? What then?

3. Jesus treats the despised as old friends. They've been rolling around in his pocket for all these years. Right now it is simply that they have fallen through a hole or crack. So Jesus doesn't let them lie where they happen to roll away to, but looks for them. What else would you do with an old friend, but look them up every chance you had.

Isn't it good to be an old friend of GOD? Isn't it good to know all others are also old friends of GOD? Yes, even those thought by us to be of no account are GOD's old friends.

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