Tuesday, November 11, 2014


The parables of the Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, and the Prodigal Son run in sync as a response by Jesus to the grumbling Pharisees.  They we griping about him favoring sinners and even eating with them.  As one looks upon these three deep truths, it should have significant impact when it is realized these parables are in response to these religious zealots who deemed themselves as a notch above all others.

The Pharisees were a squint-eyed elite group who sneered at both the immoral as well as any who had blue-collar jobs at the low end of the pay ladder.  Shepherding was one of those.  Therefore, the very mention of lost sheep had their stomach churning.

Consider the three parables with such a reflection.

These super-pious ones had no respect for shepherd low-life, women (especially those who can't keep track of where they put their coins), and immoral jerks who squander their inheritance when it wasn't really even due them.  Maybe not so oddly, the world basically agrees with these leaders in the name of responsibility if nothing else.

Note that the NASV wording in Luke 15:4 for open pasture is the word for wilderness in the Greek.  Lost sheep won't budge.  They just stay put.  Thus, the shepherd has to carry the animal.  But first, he had to wade deep into the wooded terrain just to find it. This of course, is reflective of Jesus wading into our wilderness to retrieve us.

The parable of the Lost Sheep rubs the intellect of the Pharisees raw.  They don't like the animals.  For Jesus to note their grumbling and then, of all things, bring up these three parables in a row is a courageous move by the Master Teacher.

We are to be on our own toes.  Bible Study is not to sand off the edges of Jesus' sharp teachings.  Rather these are also to puncture the Pharisee complexes we tend to carry as to how church must be and how ministry must go.  When connected to the Spirit of Jesus we are in for thoughts and directions which may challenge us to the core.

May we be willing to make significant adjustments for surely we have not arrived...none of us.

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