Luke 14: 34-35
Luke 15: 1-7
I tell you there is a cost to being a disciple of Christ. Yes, He loves you, do you love Him? John 14:15 “If you love Me you will keep My commandments”.
Luke 15: 1-7. “Now all the the tax gatherers, (Those Jews who were collecting taxes on behalf of Rome, considered as traitors), and the sinners, (those Israelites who had given up attending temple service), were coming near to Jesus, to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began tho grumble, saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.'”
A typical wealthy man in Israel, because of duty to the Law to ‘show mercy’, would provide dinners and invite the poor and outcast to dine, on occasion. But they would never dine with them. They provided a room, a table, and food but refused association with them. Thus the distinction that Jesus would receive sinners, ‘and eat with them.’
Luke 15: 3. “So Jesus told them, (the Pharisees and scribes), this parable saying, “What man among you, if he has 100 sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulder, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’
At this time in the life and ministry of Jesus there is only the Temple, sacrifices, offerings, Feast days, the Aaronic and Levitical priesthood’s, and all the requirements of the Law. The religious leaders love the Psalms of David, as a shepherd boy become King, and the soothing concepts regarding Jehovah as their Shepherd. But the reality is, the trade of being a shepherd is disgusting to them, it is a stinky, lowly trade, for the unclean, isolated, and unlearned.
For Jesus to associate these men with being shepherds, in the field, losing a sheep, and then searching for, finding and restoring the sheep to the fold is beyond reproach. For they consider themselves above such men, above the sinners, and the unwashed masses.
V. 7. Jesus continues; “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one ‘sinner’ who repents than over 99 righteous persons who need no repentance”.
In this parable Jesus reveals the hypocrisy of those who love their ‘position in life’ as it pertains to God, more that God. And if you believe that God loves you more than He loves others, then perhaps you don’t really understand the greatest of the commandments, Mark 12: 29: “Jesus answered, ‘ The greatest commandment is, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD our God is One LORD; And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.” And the second is this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
‘Jesus loves me this I know’, but not to the exclusion of others. 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance”.
January 30, 2023 at 2:55 pm
Karl, there is little doubt that ancient Israel was a stratified, some say caste, autocratic driven society. More so than our own because one of the aims of democracy/freedom is to bring reality to “all men are created equal,” etc. Here is an example of Jesus doing what he can to level that statuses of men, something the Pharisees being leveled to the tax collectors/sinners didn’t want to hear. I like it when you go slow like this. Remember the time you led a men’s Bible study on Ephesians? Seems like we were at it nearly a year. Craig
January 30, 2023 at 3:49 pm
C.R. Thank you, I remember so very well the Saturday morning Bible study., with you, Rob, and Marvin. A few others came from time to time but the four of us held down the fort for others to join at their leisure.
The sad reality is, I have a lot more to say than what I write. My notes almost over-run me at times.
God is immeasurable, and His Word is limitless, there is always another layer to examine.
January 30, 2023 at 6:10 pm
Karl, thanks for the memories! Craig