Good Shepherd Lutheran

Coming Home (Luke 15:1-10)
This scripture starts with, “…all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to [Jesus]. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, ‘This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ 3 So he told them a parable…”
The thing about the parables of the lost is they’re not about blame. They’re about being lost. A sheep is lost. A coin is lost. There’s nothing about blame or finding fault. Jesus is concerned about the ones that are lost or missing. Jesus doesn’t explain how they got lost. He doesn’t blame or judge. That’s not his issue. The issue for Jesus is recovering and reclaiming them.
There’s no doubt that we can become lost in the darkness of evil. Our sinful natures allow us to do some pretty terrible things to one another. But here’s the thing. We can also be good. And, not surprisingly, we can be good and lost at the same time.
We can be good, hard working, and successful in our career and still feel lost. We can be holding it all together, even if it’s just by our fingernails, and still be lost in the depths of grief or despair. We can be a good spouse, doing all the right things, and still be lost in a loveless marriage. We can have a good reputation and still be lost in questions about our own identity and purpose. We can be so busy at being productive that we lose the wonder, beauty, and mystery of life. We can be financially secure and still be lost in fear. We can appear to say and do all the right things and still be lost in a secret life that’s self-destructive and hurts others.
The Pharisees in the story want to make the issue just about the character of sinners and tax collectors. That’s what always happens whenever sin is defined as merely failed or abnormal behavior. Or as a lack of character. But Jesus makes it about God’s character, and that’s the point of these two parables. They reveal God’s character. They reveal God’s grace and God’s way of relating to us through his Son.
We belong to God. When we stray, lose our way, or even run away from God, he tirelessly looks for us, and he’s always ready to welcome us back home with joy. That’s because he loves us. God wants us to be in loving relationship with him because that’s why he created us. We’re his. We belong to God.
The question each of us has to answer is just this. Do we want to be lost, or do we want to be found? We can choose to stay lost and suffer the consequences of our rebellion against God’s love for us. But Jesus came to restore us to God, to bring us home to the one who loves us more than we can possibly imagine.
Are you ready to come home?