God Rejoices over Repentance:
(Read Luke 15:1-10)
Tax collectors and sinners often came to Jesus and repented of their sins. This made the religious leaders to complain that Jesus was associating with sinners. Then Jesus spoke three parables to illustrate the importance of repentance. There is a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son. In each case the lost object is found and it produced great joy. The sheep was innocently lost, the coin carelessly lost and the son willfully lost. Sheep is a dumb animal. This is the pictures of the spiritual condition of sinner (Isa 53:6). God saw the lost state of sinners and sent his Son to save them (19:10). He searches the lost sheep until he finds them (Luke 15:4). The religious leaders cared little about lost sinners. The shepherd joyfully carries the lost sheep on his shoulders and rejoices over the found sheep. Jesus said “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance”. In the story of the lost coin, the coin was lost at home. People may be members of the church and still they are lost and heading to hell. Jesus came to seek and save those who are religious as well. He persistently pursues the sinners and greatly rejoices in their restoration. There is joy in the presence of angels over repenting sinners. It shows that angels are interested in our salvation (Luke 15:10; 1 Pet 1:10-12). As a shepherd cares for his flock, so the Lord cares for his people. God does not reluctantly save sinners and eager to extend his grace towards them. Do we care for the lost souls heading to eternal hell? Pray for those in our life who are in need of God’s mercy and salvation.
The Parable of the Lost Son:
(Read Luke 15: 11-32)
This story illustrates how patient and compassionate is God toward sinners. The younger son wanted his share now, instead of waiting until father dies. So the father agreed and divided his wealth between his two sons. The younger brother took his share and went to a distant land and wasted all the money on wild living. His wicked conduct was willful and inexcusable. His riotous living hit rock bottom. This realization led him to repent and return to his loving father. He received warm reception and reconciliation from the father. When a sinner repents, he will experience forgiveness, freedom and joy. God is kind and patient toward sinners. Those who repent realize their foolishness. God wants us to turn away from sin and trust in Christ for forgiveness. He is waiting to welcome them with opened arms. Older brother is the picture of self righteous religious person. It is sad that many saved people act like the older brother. They are morally upright and busy in religious activities but spiritually proud. They don’t rejoice when their lost brother repents and returns. The father said to the older brother “We should celebrate this happy day; for your brother was dead and has come back to life. He was lost, but now he is found”. The older brother’s image must challenge us to have God’s heart of compassion toward lost sinners. Our compassion toward others is one of the best indicators of how well we appreciate God’s grace and mercy. Our sin deserves God's judgment, but Christ has taken that judgment in our place. Pray for those in your life who are in need of salvation.