This coming Sunday, our discussion group will be discussing the parable of the Lost Son. This parable is actually the third of three parables, in which Jesus paints a vivid picture of the way God relentlessly pursues His people. In these passages, we see an outpouring of God's love.
First, Jesus speaks of a shepherd who had one hundred sheep, but one has gone astray. Rather than writing the sheep off as a loss, the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine and searches diligently for his lost sheep until it is found. The shepherd doesn't give up on this lost sheep, but risks life and limb to rescue it.
Second, Jesus speaks of a woman, who had ten silver coins. One of the coins goes missing. How does the woman react? She lights a lamp, sweeps the house and seeks diligently for the lost coin until she finds it.
Third, Jesus describes a son who takes his inheritance early, squanders it on wild pursuits and ultimately ends up penniless in a foreign land. Coming to his senses, the son returns home to a father, who has been anxiously awaiting his return. Rather than rejecting the son, who certainly had it coming, the father restores the son to the family and celebrates his return.
I'm so thankful that God doesn't write us off. It would have been easy to write the lamb, the coin and the son off. They were lost. Yet, the shepherd, the woman and the father never gave up on what they had lost and rejoiced in recovering their lost treasure. These parables describe God's heart for His children. God pursues us. He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross to save us. He didn't have to do that. But, He did. And just as the shepherd, woman and father rejoiced when they had found their lost treasure, God rejoices over each person, who returns to Him.