Saturday, July 17, 2010


This is the concise version of the Bible study I taught last Tuesday.

Luke 15 tells three stories. They follow a pattern.

Story 1:

Shepherd loses a sheep. The sheep is lost. Shepherd searches for and finds sheep. Party!

Story 2:

Woman loses coin. Coin is lost. Woman searches for and finds coin. Party!

Story 3:

Son chooses to get lost. Son is lost. Father watches for and welcomes son back. Huge party!

In fact, the third party is over the top.

Its described as a feast (and in the ancient near East there were no grocery stores, so a feast means killing animals you've been preparing for months and months).

There's gifts. And they are the best of the best. No expense is spared.

There's music and dancing. Who doesn't love a good harp and lyre jam from time to time, eh?

Why? Why the party?

Because the son came back.

Which son?

The one who said to his Father, "I wish you were dead. Give me half of your money."

Wait, is he a good guy?

Well, he then took that money and blew it all on booze and hookers. So, he's not exactly Son of the Year.

So, why the party? Why have a party for the son who wished death upon you? Insulted you? Took your money? Never worked a day for you? Committed every immorality under the sun? Why does he deserve a party? Why does he even deserve to look you in the eyes ever again?

Does this make any sense?

The answer is no. Not at all. Its foolishness. Its ridiculous.

The Father is reckless. He's out of control. He's irrational. He's scandalous.

He not only takes this son back. He has a party.

A party. Wow. If we take this as a symbol of something greater and real, it gets really ridiculous. Because we are that son. Maybe we've never directly told God to go die and leave us alone, but all of humanity and every individual on this planet has more or less made that choice with our actions, thoughts, motives, and attitudes.


But, He's a good shepherd (vs 4). He sweeps and searches carefully (vs 8). He stands and watches the horizon (vs 20).

And He's taken action for us. He's set up the path. He's done the work.

If we've come back towards him, if we've chosen to trust him and the fact that this reckless, ridiculous, out of control Father has sent his own Son to come for us, if we trust that, give ourselves up to that, and put our faith in that: he has a party. And not a little party, but a blow off the doors, rockin', hear-it-for-miles-around party.

Go one step further, if you've already reached that point. If your faith is in Christ and him alone for your salvation, this party already happened in Heaven. Angels and freaking seraphim had a party because of you! They couldn't even help it! The moment you put your faith in him, they "had to celebrate and be glad because [you] were dead and are alive again, [you] were lost and are found." (vs 32)


We're not worthy of a party.

But, God is . . . ridiculous. He doesn't make sense. He doesn't work according to our logic. He loves traitors and sets out to bring them back into his family.

My prayer is that His love NEVER begins to make any sense to us. It's incomprehensible. It's ridiculous. It's otherworldly. It's divine.

That's good news.