All the tax collectors and sinners were gathering around Jesus to listen to him. The Pharisees and legal experts were grumbling, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose someone among you had one hundred sheep and lost one of them. Wouldn’t he leave the other ninety-nine in the pasture and search for the lost one until he finds it? And when he finds it, he is thrilled and places it on his shoulders. When he arrives home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who changes both heart and life than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to change their hearts and lives. “Or what woman, if she owns ten silver coins and loses one of them, won’t light a lamp and sweep the house, searching her home carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, joy breaks out in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who changes both heart and life.” (Luke 15:1-10, CEB)
This man eats with and welcomes sinners. If we would all do so well.
This is the beginning of chapter 15 in the Gospel of Luke. It is known by many as the chapter on repentance. Because verse 11 starts the story most of us know as the Prodigal Son. The younger son who wastes all the money his father gave to him. Then the young man comes to his senses and goes home and repents. But is this chapter really about repentance?
There was a shepherd who had 100 sheep and one of them is lost, so he leaves the 99 and goes to look for the lost. And when he FINDS it, he rejoices and celebrates. And there was a woman who had 10 coins and she lost one, and she turned the house over and when she FINDS it she rejoices and celebrates.
Is this chapter about lost things that repent, or about the people that find them?
If it is about lost things that repent, how does a sheep repent? And how does a coin repent? The sheep says, “I’m sorry I’ve been baaaaad.” And the coin says, “I promise I’ll change.”
No this chapter is about the actions of the one who has lost and searched for the thing that was lost. Tomorrow we will hear the difference in the Prodigal Son story, which is a bad name.
Always love as you are loved.
Loving People. Loving God.