1940 WHY THE EXCITEMENT?
Okay- as promised let’s cover the gospel of Luke- chapter 15.
First- we had a good fellowship last night- cooked lots- and 4 guys spent the night crashed out on the floor.
I just saw Hugh on the way to my office room- he was eating left over chicken for B-fast.
This story- the Prodigal son- is famous amongst preachers/bible readers in general.
The chapter actually starts with 2 other stories.
A lost sheep- 1 out of 99.
And a lost coin- 1 out of 10.
Why these stories from Jesus?
The bible says Jesus was eating with- and ‘receiving’ sinners.
The religious leaders at the time developed their idea of serving God- as a ritualistic thing [remember yesterdays post- Isaiah 58?].
Part of their understanding of this service to God- was being separated from ‘the world’.
Yes- the world of Jesus’ day was much like ours- you had outcasts- ‘illegal’ aliens- and the overall class of people that couldn’t quite seem to make it in life.
Now- when the religious leaders saw Jesus accepting them- that is he received them- loved them- but at the same time never ‘whitewashed’ sin- they got mad.
He never said ‘oh- that’s fine- we all mess up- keep on doing it’.
No- in time they knew that Jesus was showing them the love of God- yet God had a better way for them- than the old paths of sin.
So- it’s because of this reaction from the Pharisees that Jesus tells these 3 stories.
A man has 100 sheep- he loses 1- and he goes after the lost one.
When he finds it- he’s so happy- not because he didn’t care for the 99 that stayed home- but because he regained one that went astray.
A woman has ten coins- she loses one- the same thing happens.
Jesus is telling them ‘look- all of you who are jealous that I’m accepting these non Jews- these Gentiles- your mad because I’m excited about these outcasts- but it’s just like when you guys lose a sheep- or coin- you react with joy because you regained something that was missing- that was supposed to be a part of the puzzle all along- that’s why I’m going after these outcasts’.
Then he tells the longest story of the chapter.
A man had 2 sons [in context- these are references to the Jews- Gentiles].
The one son asked his father for his inheritance and the father gave the money to both the sons.
After a while the younger irresponsible son goes and wastes all the money on partying.
He becomes broke- realizes what he did- and repents and heads home to his father.
His father sees him coming and rejoices- he accepts the son- throws a huge party for him- gives him this nice robe- puts a ring on his finger- and all is well.
As the party is going on- the older son- the one who never left home [a type of the Jew who saw themselves as part of Gods people all along- they never had left God- not like these ‘dog’ Gentiles- see?]
This older son is outside- sulking.
The father goes out to see what’s wrong- the older son says ‘look dad- I was with you all these years [a type of the Old Covenant- the Jewish people had a long history with God] and you never acted excited like this with me- making a big party- killing the calf- the whole thing’.
The dad [a type of God] says ‘son- you were always with me- all hat I have is yours- don’t take my excitement wrong- it’s not because I don’t love you- but it’s because your brother was gone for a long time and finally made it home’.
That’s the story of the Prodigal son- God was just as excited about regaining a lost human [the Gentiles]- as we are about regaining things we lose.
The story deals with jealousy in the human heart- how we often benefit from the blessings of God- yet we feel wronged somehow if others too get the blessing.
These themes run thru out the teachings of Christ- talking about us receiving forgiveness- yet not giving it to others.
In the 1st century context- the Jewish people saw themselves as part of this special covenant that God made with them many years earlier.
They kept this covenant- as best as they knew- and when they see their Messiah- accepting these others who were like the younger son- they felt wronged.
They felt like all their years of being with God- as Gods special people- were for nothing.
That’s the mindset Jesus was dealing with here.
If I had more time/space- I would make a few applications about the current situation with the storm.
Some are mad at Governor Christie- he’s buddying up too much to Obama in the view of some on the right.
It's not exactly the same- but there are side’s people take- there are jealousies and divisions with all of us.
And it helps us if we can sit back and examine what’s really going on- Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living.
When we examine ourselves- do a self inventory- maybe we should be happy that others are getting help- that we should not see it as us losing out in some way- whether it be politically or any other way.
In the end- there was enough mercy to go around- the father was happy that the lost son was found.
Just like we get happy when we recover things.
It doesn’t mean that the things that never got lost hold less value [99 sheep- 9 coins].
No- its juts a natural reaction to be excited that something that was lost- that seemed like it had no hope- was recovered.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] - I have posted lots.