September 19, 2008 • By Ed Wrather
Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. - Luke 15:1-7.
A piece of music written by the great composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has been found. It somehow had become lost in a library in Nantes, France and the score, Credo in D major, is unknown to modern researchers. The head of research for a Mozart foundation in Austria calls the one page score, “really important.” The Credo was part of a collection donated in the 19th-century collector and according to the library had been “entirely forgotten” about. This discovery of an unknown score by Mozart is said to be, “extremely rare.” It is difficult to estimate the monetary value of a score like the Mozart Credo but its value to the music world is invaluable.
Jesus has been criticized by the religious crowd of his time for associating with those who can only be described as immoral people, or as the Pharisees and scribes say, “sinners.” Jesus responds by telling a series of three parables and the first is of the lost sheep. Even if a shepherd had ninety-nine sheep that were safe and sound but one was missing it is obvious that he would go and try to find the one that was lost. Jesus with an escalation in value describes a woman who has ten silver coins and loses one of them which was possibly part of a headdress of her wedding dowry. Of course, the woman will search every place possible and when the piece of silver is found there will be great joy. Then, the last parable in the trilogy is the one of the lost son. Even though the son had left home spending all that he had unwisely in sinful living the father welcomes his lost son home with great joy. Jesus says there is great joy in Heaven when even one of those the world would call sinners turn to Him in repentance.
You may not be part of the “religious crowd” and you may have never been inside of a church but these parables make it clear that God is concerned about you. Like the father whose lost son returned home, your Heavenly Father will welcome you home with great joy. When your Heavenly Father sees your heart turn toward him through Jesus - He will run to wrap His arms around you and there will be great rejoicing in Heaven.
Jesus says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world….” “The world” includes you and God longs for you to become a part of His eternal family. While you were God’s enemy, while you were a sinner, Jesus died for you (Romans 5:8). God so loved you that He gave His “only begotten son”, Jesus, that you might have eternal life. Jesus says that “whoever believes in Him (Jesus) should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16c).” What better time than now to become a part of the eternal family of the King of kings and Lord of lords? The Father is waiting, and longing for you to come home.