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WHAT JESUS SAID ABOUT: THINGS LOST AND FOUND
11-30-2007 by Jim Foley
This chapter is parabolic in nature, that is, it uses a story that is similar as a means of illustrating the truth being taught. In all three stories before us, something has been lost and then found again. Some of the facts may coincide with the truth being taught but not every word has a counterpart in the interpretation. It is not wise to try to make everything fit. In the parables there is always one main point being taught and everything else is just incidental to the story. For instance, in the parable of the unjust judge in Luke.18. the emphasis is on prayerfulness and persistence. While in the parable of the leaven in Matthew.13. the emphasis is on sin. In the series of three parables before us the same truth is being taught in each. These parables are evangelical that, they depict man in his lost state, as well as his saved state. It is easy to see the importance that the Lord places on this subject when he uses three stories to teach the same truth, in most of the other parables it is one story for one truth.
Those who were the recipients of this teaching consisted of two groups of two classes in each group. The first group was sinners and publicans. These would know little or nothing about the scriptures or traditional religion. But notice who it is that is gathered to hear Jesus. Ver.1. These are lost and donít know it, for them the story of redemption is new and holds out hope. It speaks to them of a need long felt but never quite understood. The second group was Pharisees and Scribes, Ver.2. they were the religious leaders of their day, putting on a show of their religion for all to see. It is always this way, there are those who think that they are good enough to merit Godís forgiveness on their own. These are also the ones who murmur against the Savior because he specifically seeks out sinners.
Three kinds of things were lost, sheep, coin, and son. In this respect we cannot help but think that there are two applications that are general and one that is personal. In the case of the first two a man and a woman enter into the picture, that they are male and female is of no consequence except to add body to the story. What is of importance is that they represent the Lord in his search for lost sinners. This part of the illustration depicts mankind lost and the Son of God as the seeker. Luke.19:10. There is a truth taught here that is subsequent to the main point of the parable, we know that it is important because it is repeated twice, once in Ver.7. and once in Ver.10. The rejoicing seen on the part of the seeker is very interesting in that, the narrator of the parable and the real seeker are one and the same. This gives us a real insight into the compassionate, loving nature of the Savior.
Ver.11-16. Describe a situation that is all too familiar, though the story events are different the general theme is the same as it always has been. For many young people, male and female, there is a lure to the world outside of home that is very dangerous.
Now there is always a lure to the world around us, but what makes it so dangerous for the young is that they have no experience in it. In this respect it is a poor training ground in comparison to the home. While it is true that we learn from our mistakes, a mistake in the home environment usually results in correction in a setting of love and concern. In a worldly setting the same mistake can result in disaster that can ultimately change the course of their life forever, and for the worse. The progression is always the same when the young begin trying out their wings for the first time, they think they can fly just like their parents and the other grownups that they know, and they will not listen to the advise of those who have already gone through what they are about experience. We see the example laid out for us in Ver.12-13. This father was no different than any other father, it is certain that he voiced his concerns over the course that his son had chosen, but to no avail. For this young person the lure of the world was overwhelming and the resulting path that he took was a path of sin. Never having had money of his own before, now he was rich he could have anything that he wanted, and he wanted a lot of the wrong things. Ver.13. The world demands that you make choices, and some of the choices that it sets before you are almost irresistible. Why is it that so many young people make the wrong choices? Were they not raised well, instructed in the proper way to live, taught morality, respect, and responsibility. The answer is yes to all of these, but, SIN IS FUN. At least in the beginning. Sin is always a downward spiral, it will bring you right to the brink of hell itself and hold you there. For the son in our text, sin led to misery and a complete loss of dignity. Ver.14-16. He had felt the same lure that many before him had felt, money, freedom, no restraint, no accounting. It was all new and exciting but he had subjected himself to a situation that he had no experience in and he made the wrong choices. The proof of this is in the story before us: Ver.12. Shows that the fatherís goods were divided equally between the two sons. But the other son did not fall into the same trap that the younger son did, why? Both had the same father, the same upbringing, the same opportunities, and the same inheritance. The difference came with age for with age comes experience. Just the fact that he was older was an advantage because he had longer to sit under the instruction of his father.
On the fatherís part, he had done a good job of raising these two boys, and the reason that I know this is because when the younger son got into trouble he knew where to go, he had not forgotten the teaching or the love and compassion that was still resident in his fatherís house. In fact he had been aware of it all the time, he had just chosen to ignore it. The lure of the world is strong, but it is not stronger than sound spiritual teaching. What is stronger than sound spiritual teaching is the lure of the world and a young person foolishly embracing the sin that it offers, even though he must violently thrust aside all that he has been taught.
It is also interesting to see the posture of the father in this story. Ver.20. He never stopped loving and he never stopped watching for his son. This is the story of the God of all heaven and earth, and his love and concern for his child that had been lost. At the repentance of the son, the father freely forgave all. The grave condition of the son in that far away land is clearly seen in Ver.32. Mankind, all of us have made the wrong decision, it was made for us in our father Adam. And the sin that he chose passed sin on to all men, so that, all men are sinners. All are lost and in a far-away land, hungry for that which is not to be had in that place. But there is a place where it is to be had, in the house of our heavenly father, and he is waiting for a first sight of the lost one coming home. For he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
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