My English class was going over the three parables in Luke 15 when the Lord decided to teach me today. In this chapter Jesus tells three parables one right after the other to emphasize the message. I have always read them as individual parables. They each had some meaning and value alone but today I saw them as one, as Jesus intended. Jesus was constantly showing us the Father through his life so that we would know him. He said if you’ve seen me you’ve seen the father. Here in this chapter Jesus is painting a beautiful picture of the Father’s relentless pursuit of us and how heaven rejoices when we’ve been found by him.
The first parable tells of the shepherd leaving the ninety-nine to go find the one. When he finds it he calls everyone to tell them how he is rejoicing for his sheep is now found, safe and back in the fold with him. Here he can love, provide for and protect the sheep he loves.
The second parable is the woman who has lost a coin. She lights a lamp and searches until she finds it and when she does, she calls everyone to rejoice with her because what was lost is now found. The coin can now be used for its purpose and is not wasted. What I saw for the first time that lost meant in the dark. The light had to be shed for the coin to be found. Many times, we and our purpose and value are missing in the dark. Jesus, the light of the world, comes to show us who we are and how valuable he’s made us and that we have great purpose yet to be fulfilled.
The third and probably everyone’s favorite comes right on its heals. The parable of the prodigal son. I’m sure we know this story but what’s so beautiful is that the father is looking for his son anticipating his return. He’s sees him a far off. This tells me he’s looking intently. A prodigal is lost in a different way. He chose to get lost so he needs to choose to come home. But the beauty in this is that Father God acts the same way even when we’ve lost ourselves on purpose. He’s still looking for us though we’ve gone. Then of course when the son returns the father calls everyone to celebrate and restores the son as before. No penitence was required. The father didn’t even let the son say the words he’d rehearsed to be a servant since he wasn’t worthy anymore to be called a son. Father said nothing doing. You’re my son, welcome home.
We tend to think that we are on the hunt for Jesus. The truth is he’s on the hunt for us. The coin could do nothing but be found. The sheep couldn’t return on his own. He had to be found since he didn’t know the way back. The son, though he needed to return, had to be looked for so he’d know how loved he was. He knew we couldn’t do it in our own strength. Jesus alone could. He loves you with an everlasting love and will be relentless until he finds you no matter how you became lost. And if you’re the prodigal he’s promised in his word that when you search for him you’ll find him when you search with all your heart. He’s already looking for you. When he finds you what a great celebration will be had by all!
By Jaime Luce