Sunday, June 20, 2010

Trinity 3: A Devotional Commentary

Micah 7:18-20 Who is a God like you, who pardons iniquity, and passes over the disobedience of the remnant of his heritage? He doesn’t retain his anger forever, because he delights in loving kindness. He will again have compassion on us. He will tread our iniquities under foot; and you will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. You will give truth to Jacob, and mercy to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.

1 Peter 5:6-11 Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your worries on him, because he cares for you. Be sober, self-controlled and watchful. Your adversary, the devil, roams around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, knowing that your brethren throughout the world experience the same sufferings. But after you have suffered a little while, may the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, make you perfect, restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the glory and the power unto ages of ages. Amen.

Luke 15:1-10 Now, all the tax collectors and sinners were coming close to him to hear him. But the Pharisees and scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them!” So Jesus told them this parable. “Which one of you, if you had one hundred sheep and lost one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that was lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he carries it on his shoulders, rejoicing! Coming home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, telling them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous who need no repentance. Or what woman, if she had ten drachma coins and lost one, would not light a lamp, sweep the house, and look hard until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying: ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the drachma coin which I had lost!’ Likewise, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Which one of you, if you had one hundred sheep and lost one of them would leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness to go search search for the one? Would anybody do this? This doesn't seem to conform to good shepherding practice.

But keep the context in mind. Jesus was eating with sinners. Jesus was eating with lost sheep. Jesus is eating with the prostitutes and murderers and idolaters. Jesus is not eating with the religious leaders as a good Messiah would be expected to do. He's not meeting with the rich and famous. He is eating with the lost sheep. Jesus is not interested in finding the found but in finding the lost. If the ninety-nine are abandoned, hopefully they will realized that they are lost and can be found by Jesus as well.

Jesus says that there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous who need no repentance. Do the righteous even exist? Absolutely not! But we think we are righteous. We think that the angels in heaven must be rejoicing over every little supposedly righteous act that we do. I come to church every Sunday and sing some songs to God. Surely the angels must rejoice in my righteous acts. But the Shepherd is the only righteous one. All we do is get lost.

The Shepherd doesn't sit around waiting for us to repent. The Shepherd knows that we are lost well before we do and comes running out to get us. We repent because the Shepherd finds us. After the Shepherd grabs us we see how miserable we really are and how wonderful the Shepherd is. We repent of our life of wandering. This isn't a one time event but a daily activity. We stray every day and the Shepherd picks us up and brings us home.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent! I never heard it explained so well! Love Mom