Sunday, September 22, 2019

Luke 15 (NIV)


“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”, the Pharisees had asked Jesus’ disciples (Luke 5:30). In their world, true men of God would not compromise the Law by associating with people who did not obey it’s commandments.  Jesus’ answer to them was to the point: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31).  Doctors don’t visit the healthy!  God visits those who know they are broken and scarred; in need of His mercy! 

Jesus reveals the heart of His Father to men who exclude others based upon a twisted view of the Law, it’s regulations and its commands. What had been delivered through Abraham (Genesis 17:4) and the Law, through Moses (Deuteronomy 4:5-7; Isaiah 60:3) was intended to bless the nations that surrounded them. Instead, slavish obedience to the Law and it’s nuances had created an association of legalists who, alone, felt the sole right to the blessings of God.


The Lost Sheep

In Luke 15:1-2, their question remains.  So, Jesus illustrates for everyone His Father’s love for His lost children in three unique stories found only in Luke’s gospel.  The parables of the lost sheep (vss. 3-7), the lost coin (vss. 8-10) and the lost son (vss. 11-24) give us a glimpse of heaven’s celebration when one sinner repents.  It is in the third story of the lost son that Jesus gives us more detail to illustrate His Father’s watching for, running to, and embracing of, His broken children when they come home.  


The Older Brother

Finally, Jesus turns from the crowds to address the Pharisees directly in the parable of the older brother (Luke 15:25-32).  Here Jesus describes the Father who comes to his older son as well, “entreats him” (rather than commands him), calls him his “child” who is always with him and reminds him that all He has available to His son. It is a touching scene as the father pleads with his son to come join in the festivities…. Will he enter the house or will he choose, rather, to stay outside and pout.

As Jesus looks at the Pharisees, we are left to wonder, too: Will they surrender their distorted view of God as a Divine Master lording over His obedient slaves?  Or will they hear Jesus’ loving appeal on behalf of His Father? After all, God is their Father, too, Who desires to bring everyone home to celebrate at His table…even the hypocrites.

Click HERE to watch “The Older Brother” video intro to Luke 15:25-32. This introduced the second part of the sermon.

Found!: Come Home!

For this lesson, I am particularly indebted to the insights of John Piper – “Desiring God” Website: A Tender Word to Pharisees.