Luke 15.  1-23

The despised tax collectors and the sinners were gathered around Jesus listening to His words of instruction and grace.  The Pharisees and the scribes grumbled about the fact that Jesus, this new teacher who has just come upon the scene, speaking with authority and wisdom, yet no one knows what school He has been taught in, actually receives these out casts, and dines with them.  He welcomes them.  So Jesus tells them a series of stories that  includes them in the response required.

The lost sheep, if a man loses even one of one hundred sheep, so valuable is that animal to him, he will go to great effort to find it and restore it to the flock. So it is with your Father in heaven, even the angels rejoice when a sinner repents.

The lost coin, if a woman loses one of her ten silver coins, so valuable is that coin that she searches in the house feverishly, sweeping and taking a light to every nook and cranny, until she finds it.  She calls her friends and rejoices greatly for the return of her loss. So it is with your Father in heaven, even the angels join in the celebration.

The lost sons, if a man has a son who goes beyond all norms of society, and demands his inheritance now, leaves the house and homeland, plays the part of a fool, and wastes it all on wine,  women,  and song.  When he has repented and returned home, his father will humble himself and receive him.  The other son in his own rebellion regards his life in the home as nothing more than slavery, and rejects the repentant brother.  The father humbles himself a second time to receive this son also.

Thus we see a picture of our heavenly Father who in the first parable guards our lives and protects us, seeking to restore us when we go astray.  In the second parable is a picture of completeness, our heavenly Father leaves not one detail unfinished, nothing is lost, not one of His is left behind. In the third parable we see the freewill of mankind to wander away, seeking shiny new things, desires to be fulfilled, passions satisfied.  We love the unknown, are foolishly proud, and foolishly self indulgent. Yet our heavenly Father anxiously waits for us to come to our senses, repent and return home to where we find Him running out to greet us.

These are pictures of Divine love. As the pharisees were called to respond so are we.