JOY IS THE SERIOUS BUSINESS OF HEAVEN

In Luke 14 Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath knowing it would upset the religious leaders. He then began teaching what humility looked like. Essentially he told them to stop looking out for themselves first but rather let others take prominence. He followed this by telling them a parable about a dinner feast in which all those that were originally invited gave excuses why they couldn’t come, implying that other things were more important, so he eventually turned to those on the outskirts of town in order to find dinner guests. He said, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.” Actually he was telling them when you think too highly of yourselves and what you’re doing you may just lose your seat.

Moving right along into Luke 15 we read of a lost sheep, lost coin and lost son. What I hadn’t noticed until today was who Jesus was talking to when he told these three stories about grace. It was the tax collectors and sinners that were coming to hear him. Jesus had been talking to self righteous religious leaders but now he has turned to those that are labeled “sinners.” Notice how his message changed a little bit. He was telling the self assured crowd about humility and what it was going to take for them to enter the kingdom. Now he is freely inviting the “sinners” to simply come, and there doesn’t seem to be any strings attached at all. The difference is the first group is trusting in themselves whereas the second group of “sinners” have come to realize they’re in need of a savior.

One other thing that jumped out at me in the stories of Luke 15 was the joy. When the Shepard, which I think represents the Son of God, found the sheep he laid it on his shoulders rejoicing and called his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ The same with the woman, representing the Spirit, when the lost coin was found; she called her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’

The Father, representing God, in the last part of Luke 15 has his servants prepare a party when his lost son returned. The father told the older son, “We had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and is alive again, and was lost and has been found.” So rejoicing is a reoccurring theme throughout these stories. The Shepard rejoiced when he laid the sheep on his shoulders. The lady rejoiced when she found the coin and finally the Father rejoiced because his son had come back from the dead. I guess our friend Burt Rosenberg is right when he says, “Joy is the serious business of Heaven!”

Written by Louie

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