Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep. Luke 15:6
“They call me ‘the ringmaster.’ So far this year I’ve found 167 lost rings.”
During a walk on the beach with my wife, Cari, we struck up a conversation with an older man who was using a metal detector to scan an area just below the surf line. “Sometimes rings have names on them,” he explained, “and I love seeing their owners’ faces when I return them. I post online and check to see if anyone contacted lost and found. I’ve found rings missing for years.” When we mentioned that I enjoy metal detecting as well but didn’t do it frequently, his parting words were, “You never know unless you go!”
We find another kind of “search and rescue” in Luke 15. Jesus was criticized for caring about people who were far from God (vv. 1–2). In reply, He told three stories about things that were lost and then found—a sheep, a coin, and a son. The man who finds the lost sheep “joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me’ ” (vv. 5–6). All the stories are ultimately about finding lost people for Christ, and the joy that comes as they’re found in Him.
Jesus came “to seek and to save the lost” (19:10), and He calls us to follow Him in loving people back to God (see Matthew 28:19). The joy of seeing others turn to Him awaits. We’ll never know unless we go.
What joy have you seen when people turn to God? How will you point others to Jesus’ love today?
Thank You, Jesus, for finding and loving me! Please send me in Your joy to another who needs You today.
Tax collectors were seen as betraying their people by colluding with the Roman government. Many tax collectors abused their role by taking more money than required for taxes and keeping the surplus for themselves (Luke 3:12–13). Scholars aren’t sure what specifically caused people to be labeled “sinners” (15:1), but these persons too would have been excluded from the religious community.
Luke portrays these social and religious outcasts sympathetically. Tax collectors came to John the Baptist eager to know how to repent (3:12). Jesus called Levi the tax collector to follow Him, and Levi immediately did, then hosted a banquet for Him (5:27–30). A woman the Pharisees described as a sinner (7:39) is praised by Christ for her faith (v. 50). Luke argued that those who know they’re sinners are most likely to hear and follow Jesus (5:31–32; 15:1).