The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
The Parable of the Lost Coin
“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
- Pastor Nick challenged us to consider that Jesus is not only talking to “them” (the religious leaders), but he is talking to you. When we read Scripture, it can be easy for us to judge those in the story, considering ourselves better off. How do you see this in your heart? Who in the passage are you quick to judge? Why?
- In Luke 15:1, we see the tax collectors and sinners drawing near to Jesus. Drawing near and receiving sinners is to do life with those in your community who you would categorize as “sinners.” Are you the type of person that sinners are drawn to? In what ways do you open yourself to befriend such people?
- Think about the relationships in your life. Who do you surround yourself with? Do you fight against the natural tendency toward homogeny within community? How?
- Are you willing to recognize your sin, your need for grace, and the presence of Jesus in your life? How does this affect the way you relate to those around you?
- Jesus opens his arms to anyone, but he never lets anyone remain just as they are. What does it look like to have this same posture as an individual, community group, church?
- When you consider the call of Jesus to live according to this “third way” of the Gospel, do you sense the freedom that it promises? How would your life be different if you opened yourself up to this call away from judgment and toward love?