The Good News that Lord Jesus shared with the world was Repentance and the Kingdom of God. Mathew 4:17, 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” The tax collectors and sinners gathered around Jesus to hear from Him. Seeing this, the Pharisees started to grumble and plan among themselves. They said in Luke 15:2, 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” To their grumbling, Jesus answered that healing is needed for those who are suffering not for those who are well. Mathew 9:12-13, 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Lord Jesus shared three parables with them.
- Parable of the Lost Sheep: First the parable of the lost sheep. Once there was a shepherd who had 100 sheep. One of them got lost while grazing. The shepherd left behind the 99 sheep and went looking for the one that was lost. When he found the lost sheep, he picked it up and carried it with him on his shoulder. He then celebrated with his friends on having found the lost sheep. Luke 15:7, 7 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.
A sheep is an innocent animal. They are completely dependent on the shepherd for food and safety. Even if hungry or thirsty, once they are in their shed they do not venture out, They only cry out in hunger calling upon the shepherd. Hearing their cries, the shepherd brings food and water for them. The shepherd takes them for grazing on pasture. The sheep unaware of the danger that lies before them, wander off while grazing into unknown places, crooks, and crannies. They are incapable of self-defense in case they are attacked by predators or fall into any pits. They can only cry for help. The shepherd without any fore thinking jumps to help them even if it lands him into dangerous terrains and situations.
2. The parable of the Lost Coin: A lady had a necklace of ten coins. One of them got lost. She lighted a lamp and started to search for it everywhere. For Jewish women, such a necklace was not an adornment. It was a reflection of their married status. It got lost due to her lack of attention. Instead of being content with the remaining 9 coins in the necklace, She lights a lamp and searches for the coin till she finds it. When she finds it, she too celebrates with her friends and neighbor like the shepherd.
3. The parable of the Prodigal Son: Among the creations of God, only man is under the influence of alcohol and other beverages. Children are those who live under the umbrella of the security and warmth of their parents. It was not part of Jewish tradition to distribute father’s property while he was alive.
Jesus said this parable, A father had two sons. The younger son asked for his share of the property and went away. He might not have felt freedom under his father. He must have desired to be richer and more prosperous than his father. He must have planned several things for himself. Yet what happened was just the opposite. He sold his share of the property for cash. With his freedom and cash in hand, he lived a life of luxury and sin. He destroyed and spend all he had. There was an extreme famine in the land he reached. He sought shelter with one of the inhabitants of the land. He kept him as his pig keeper. Unable to satisfy his hunger he had to rummage for food among the scraps given to the pigs. He did not get to eat even from the scraps. Luke 15: 17-18, 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
His father always kept an eye for his return. The father recognized his son from afar and was filled with joy on his return. The father paid no attention to the words of remorse and repentance his son said to him. The father was filled with joy and happiness and embraced him close to his heart.
Jesus had shared three parables with people. We get three different lessons from these three parables.
- Sheep: Sheep was lost because of its ignorance.
- Coin: The coin was lost due to carelessness.
- Prodigal Son: Went astray on his own will
In the first two parables, the owners took time to search for the one that was lost. In the third parable, the son realized his wayward nature and repented and came back to his father. Among these three parables, pause and think where do we stand. The prodigal son had full faith in his father. He was not wrong. The younger son gave no thought to what his elder brother, relatives, servants, and friends would say on his return. In his mind, there was a place only for his ever-loving father. Had he thought otherwise he would have been finished where he had gone.
Dear children of God, if you feel you have strayed from His path due to ignorance or carelessness. Remember that the gracious Lord Jesus is always looking for you, waiting for your return. Have you destroyed yourself in search of worldly pleasures?? Do not hesitate. Repent and return to Him… There should only be one image before your eyes. The image of our Lord Jesus who gave up His life for the redemption of our sins. Even today He waits for us with open arms that have nail marks. Return to Him and hug Him.