Hybels and Mittelberg say in the first chapter that this is the only example in the entire Bible where Jesus tells three stories to get His point across. Obviously, this is something way important to Him - naturally. But why?
In every example, there are three major points:
- In each example, something of great value was missing to the main character, whether it was a sheep, coin, or a son. We are the "something" that is missing to God. We matter. We have value in His eyes.
- The thing missing was important enough to warrant an all-out search. God will stop at nothing to make us find Him.
- At the end of each parable, the main character was so overjoyed that they rejoiced. God throws a party every time one of us is found in Him.
After I finished the chapter in the book, I picked up my Bible and started reading where I had left off the last time I read, in Acts 11. While Luke 15 is well and good, the significance didn't really hit me until I saw this:
"But the voice answered a second time from heaven, 'What God has made clean, do not call common.'" Acts 11:17
Yes, this isn't directly related to Luke 15, but to me, it was. While I had heard the Luke 15 stories a million times, even after today they never really hit me. Yes, I matter to God, and yes, He loves when I come home to him.
But what does that really mean? All of my past, my sins, my mistakes and shames, are wiped away. Okay. I was dirty. But to God, they don't exist. They're gone - wiped clean. What was made clean - me - is something that no one can ever call common.
Can you say with honesty that you feel like you're made clean, and not common? That you know you matter? Read and try to think about Luke 15 in a different light. It may change your mind.
Are you in?