Oh how I wish I could have been there watching and hearing Jesus as he shared these parables. To see the expressions on his face and in his eyes as he told these stories. Watching the faces of those that sat around listening intently. We discover that its about the lost and found and the importance of searching for our lost things and the joy we feel when we find those lost things.
This chapter is a good reminder of how much Jesus loves me and you. So much so that he will search high and low, and far and wide to find me and you. As I reflected and prayed over this I discovered there is more to these stories. We have all lost something we treasure, prize, or value. When we find the lost thing it feels like a victory. We do the victory dance, whether it is an inward or outward expression. Sometimes this victory is worthy of a celebration that we share with others to express our thanksgiving for this lost possession. Digging deeper I discovered that it’s a matter of the heart. We learned that the Pharisees and religious teachers, the ones who knew the laws complained and passed judgment on those who sat sharing a meal and listening to Jesus because they considered them sinful people. We see the older brother is angry that a celebration is given because his squandering brother has returned home. I also learned (v.7) Heaven rejoices over the one the lost sinner who repents and returns than 99 others that haven’t strayed away. (v.10) There is joy in the presence of God's angels over one lost sinner who repents. (v.32b) We should celebrate a brother who was lost and now is found.
Sometimes knowing what is right is a hindrance because we create boxes that we believe people should fit into. We want people to fit into our mold, to be like us to be accepted. Rather then being like Jesus and going to them and meeting them where they are at. Or perhaps like the older brother, who may have felt cheated for not being celebrated for staying. We feel entitled and need to be validated for doing what is right. I’ve been there. I’ve passed judgement on someone because they were different from me. I have been in the older brother’s shoes within my own family. Thankfully through God’s grace we see that it isn’t that he doesn’t notice us for staying close. I believe he celebrates the lost coming home because now he has the assurance that we can all be together. Being a parent and a spouse, allows me to see this so clearly. Perhaps even imagine and relate how Jesus values his lost. If my children or spouse were lost I would search high and low for them and I wouldn’t rest. I would jump with joy and scream from the mountain tops when my child returns home to me. It wouldn’t be that my family that stayed didn’t matter, the celebration would be because we are now whole. Complete. The Lord has all ready celebrated our home coming when we said yes to him. Jesus guides us with these parables so that we can learn and have a change of heart. So that we can give grace when needed, be joyful and celebrate when someone who was lost, is found.