Luke 15:1-32 presents three parables of Jesus Christ that revolve around one theme: the recovery of the lost. Something was lost, but it was recovered. What is very striking for me is the seeming incompatibility between what was lost and the manner by which it was recovered.
One sheep, from among a flock of sheep, strayed and the shepherd left his other sheep just so he could look for and bring home his one lost sheep. One against a hundred-it seems an insignificant number, negligible so to speak. Yet, for the shepherd, this one lost sheep was still his sheep, and it was worth his time of search.
Similarly, a silver coin from among ten got lost, and the woman owner had to spend much effort sweeping all over her house in order to search for her one lost coin. Today perhaps, the tendency for those who have plenty is to not mind such negligible loss.
Then we see the father of the wayward son, who even without any certainty of his son’s return, kept waiting, perhaps night and day, for his son. His son finally came to his senses and decided to go back home, and he was sill far-away, but the father already saw him.
The father, filled with compassion, ran all the way to welcome his son gladly. No cursing nor berating, just a very warm and joyful welcome so much so that his son need not kneel in front of him to plead for forgiveness.
And this for me is the most striking message of this gospel:how amazing that God can love us so unconditionally! Just like the shepherd and the woman who rejoiced after recovering what they had lost and asked their friends to celebrate with them, God rejoices each time one sinner repents and goes back to Him. “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.”
What is one sinner against the countless righteous followers of Christ? Yet, God does not really make any distinction, for each and every one of us is special to Him. Moreover, He loves us despite our disobedience, our unloving attitude towards Him, and He is always waiting for our return. Our sincere repentance is joy and rejoicing for Him.
Thus, if God can love us this much that it brings Him so much joy to have even one sinner to repent, can we not love Him in return by being more obedient to His will, and being good examples for others to follow? More than that, can we not also go out of our way to find those who are lost and bring them back to Him?
May the peace and strength of our Lord Jesus Christ be always with us as we ponder and live out this call to us!