Joy at Finding What Is Lost

Note from JesusDear Friend,

In the verses today and the next two days, you will find three of My stories — often called parables — about lost things and lost people. Luke collects them together, and you can find them in one powerful chapter of his gospel (Luke 15:1-32). To understand these stories, you need to notice the situation as Luke describes it in his first two verses (Luke 15:1-2).

People who were not normally religious were hearing the call of God and following Me — truly following Me by turning their lives to God and living the character and compassion I was calling them to display in their lives. On the other hand, other people who were normally considered to very religious were critical of Me for having fellowship with these sinners and devoting so much of My time and energy to reaching and teaching them and entering into table fellowship with them.

I told these three stories to speak to these issues. I wanted everyone to know that I love all people. That’s why you have seen Me in the houses of Pharisees sharing meals with them and also healing a synagogue ruler’s daughter and healing a Roman soldier’s servant. It is also why you have seen Me welcome outcasts and the unclean into My fellowship and why I called Matthew — considered to be a sinner because he was a tax collector — to be one of My twelve apostles. You also see men and women, young and old, rich and impoverished, well and sick, powerful and powerless, all receive My attention and My grace.

I have recently reminded you that people count most and that the Father sent Me to give My life on the cross as a ransom for sinners. So as you read My three stories about lost things (a sheep and a coin) and lost people (two sons), remember why I told these three stories. I wanted everyone to know why I joyfully welcomed sinners to repentance and into My fellowship. I also wanted the outwardly religious to know that they could be just as lost as those they counted as worse sinners than themselves and that their hard hearts toward the sinners who repent indicated this lostness no matter how religious their lives seemed. But as most folks know, telling the hard truth directly to your critics seldom gets to their hearts. They tend to raise their defenses and get ready to come back at you rather than listening to you. So I told stories — stories from the way of life these people recognized. These stories remind you that lost people need My grace and when they are found, there is rejoicing in heaven.Verses to LiveToday you are going to read a simple story about a lost sheep. For many families during My earthly ministry, any lost sheep was a huge loss and could not be allowed. Know that you, dear friend, are much more important to Me and to the Father than any sheep could be to a shepherd. So imagine the joy when the lost sheep was found. That joy pales in comparison to the joy of heaven when any lost person turns to Me.Jesus became increasingly popular among notorious sinners — tax collectors and other social outcasts. The Pharisees and religious scholars noticed this.

Pharisees and Religious Scholars:This man welcomes immoral people and enjoys their company over a meal!Jesus (with another parable):Wouldn’t every single one of you, if you have 100 sheep and lose one, leave the 99 in their grazing lands and go out searching for the lost sheep until you find it? When you find the lost sheep, wouldn’t you hoist it up on your shoulders, feeling wonderful? And when you go home, wouldn’t you call together your friends and neighbors? Wouldn’t you say, “Come over and celebrate with me, because I’ve found my lost sheep”? This is how it is in heaven. They’re happier over one sinner who changes his way of life than they are over 99 good and just people who don’t need to change their ways of life.(Luke 15:1-7)Response in PrayerFather, I am touched by two truths of this simple parable and the reason Jesus told it. First, I am reminded just how precious I am to You and why You paid such a high price to save me. No words are adequate to express my deepest appreciation, but please know that I thank You for welcoming me into Your family and rejoicing with the angels when I came to Jesus. Also, dear Father, I am convicted of how deeply you care about the lost around me and I know you have placed me in the relationships that I have so that I can help them meet Jesus and follow Him. Please help me, dear Father, to keep my heart open to the lost around me so that I can help them find Jesus, in Whose name I pray. Amen.’A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware. © 1998-2022, Heartlight, Inc. ‘A Year with Jesus’ is part of the Heartlight Network.All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Joy at Finding What Is Lost
Source: Passion for Praise