Heard at Café: 11/5/2019

Tonight's fall-themed café brought us delicious apple crumble cupcakes and apple cider. The decorations were festive and the sudokus were hard (I didn't finish mine).

Jeremy spoke tonight on the parables that Jesus tells right before the parable of the prodigal son: the parables of the lost coin and the lost sheep. We looked at Luke 15:1-10:
15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus.But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
The point of this passage is that God cares about the one even among the many. He looks at the one and sees the one that he wants to bring back home. Even among 7 billion people in this world, God still sees each person individually. This means that God isn't just playing a numbers game. It's not about the general; it's about the specific.

There are three parables back-to-back with this same theme: the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the prodigal son. It's as if Jesus is reinforcing this idea that His love reaches out to each of us individually.

Repentance is a word that means to turn. It means changing your mind and behavior away from everything else and towards God. In these stories, repentance is equated with the rejoicing.

A lot of our stories are like the lost coin or the lost sheep. We wander and lose our way. We forget where the good things are. We get distracted. Even so, even the most winding of paths can all lead home. Through these parables, Jesus is telling us that He still welcomes us with open arms. There's no shame or blame when the sheep returns. The shepherd throws a sheep party, and it's pure joy and happiness.

This is the kind of grace that God shows us. It doesn't run out, even when we expect it to. It welcomes us back home every single time.

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