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:
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.