Saturday, August 12, 2017

Year 7, Day 224: Luke 15

Theological Commentary: Click Here

Luke 15 is a great chapter when it comes to looking at our relationship in the kingdom.  It’s also an incredible chapter to read for a person who has recently begun a relationship with God or who is considering a relationship with God. This chapter is full of grace.

The reason that this chapter is so full of grace is because it begins with a legalistic question.  The best way to diffuse a question that is too focused upon the Law is to bring more grace into the conversation.  The Pharisees grumble because Jesus is hanging out with the wrong crowd.  To answer them, Jesus talks about why He is choosing to do so.

Jesus gives us the stories about the lost sheep and the lost coin.  I’ll add another few perspectives.  Every day as a teacher I see kids come in with a notebook full of paper.  But when a child has lost their homework, they are only focused on that one piece of paper that has what I want to see on it.  As a homeowner, I have plenty of bills to pay.  But on the day when I have a deadline, I really only want the bill that is due on that day.  Or, let’s take a positive spin.  There are days when I am hungry for a chocolate milkshake.  There’s plenty of chocolate foods out there, but when I want a chocolate milkshake none of those other chocolate foods are likely to satisfy.

The point from Jesus isn’t that there is anything wrong with the other sheep or the coins that the woman might have.  In my examples, there’s nothing wrong with any of the paper that a student has, any of my other bills, or any other food made out of chocolate.  However, they aren’t satisfying the immediate perspective.  When a sheep is lost, the shepherd is focused on the sheep.  When a coin is lost, the person is focused on that coin.  Hen homework is lost, the student wants that page for credit.  When a bill needs paid, I need the bill for my specific account numbers.  When I walk a chocolate drink, I’m looking for a specific experience.  In all of these cases, there’s nothing wrong with any of the other options.  These aren’t stories about the problems with all of the other options.  These are problems about the focus of the central figure.

That’s why we turn to the story of the Prodigal Son.  Of course, we see the grace of the father in redeeming the younger son in spite of his rebellion.  That’s the overarching point of the whole chapter.  The father just wants his son back.  The father just wants that relationship restored.  That’s where the perspective is.

Yet at the end of the chapter, we do address the older son.  The older son is hurt.  He’s been with the father all the time.  Yet he sees the father fawning over the younger son and it hurts.  That’s why the father has to come to the older son and explain this lesson.  It isn’t like there is anything wrong with the older son.  The older son has had the father’s love every day.  It’s been a consistent, steady, and reliable love.  But for this moment, the surge of the father’s excitement is focused towards the younger son.  But that doesn’t change the steady ever-present love that the father has for the older son.