On Lostness (Luke 15)
Posted by Dr. Larry Taylor
How do we find our true selves?
What is the purpose, the meaning, of life?
We are created to be children of a loving heavenly Father. We are daughters and sons of God. We belong with God – connected, in fellowship, in relationship.
God is love. There is no source of love (in its truest sense) apart from God.
We are made for community, connectedness, family, by the God who is triune – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in perfect loving harmony, pouring out Self in love in perfect perichoresis. One God in need of nothing, yet chose, at great risk to Self, to create free beings with whom to have koinonia.
Kyle Snodgrass (Professor at North Park Seminary in Chicago, the graduate school of the Evangelical Covenant denomination) knows more about Jesus’ parables than anybody on the planet. I love the title he gives to the parable in Luke 15 we normally call the parable of the prodigal son: “The parable of the compassionate father and his two lost sons.”
In reality, both sons are lost – one, the younger, by despising his father, wishing him dead, demanding and squandering his inheritance; the other – the elder, by despising grace and looking down on others. Both put themselves outside the father’s love. The father, oblivious to custom and dignity, runs to, embraces, kisses, and clothes the younger. The father searches for, finds, goes to and seeks to reconcile his older son who is sulking outside.
A great feast – perhaps 100-200 people – roast beef – celebration – joy.
Three parables in Luke 15:
- The lost sheep. God cares for, searches for and tenderly carries home the lost, the despised, the neglected, the outsider, the stranger, the weak, the weary, the homeless, addicted, little insignificant ones.
Thank you Lord for finding me.
Lord, help me to act like you – to seek the “least of these,” and carry them home to you.
- The lost coin. Like the woman, God is diligent, relentless, assiduous, and persistent in seeking the lost. God will not quit until they are found. Neither the lamb nor the coin have the ability to find their own way home. The shepherd and the woman do the work.
I was lost, but now I am found.
Lord, help me to be like you – to diligently, relentlessly love and treasure others.
- The lost sons: One religious and law-abiding, upstanding and respectable; the other rebellious, flaunting, and stupid. One “good,” the other “bad.” Both need to come home. But not just come to home – they both need to come to their father.
Lord, help me not to be senseless and rebellious like the younger son.
Lord, help me not to be judgmental and self-righteous like the older son.
Lord, when I am rebellious or self-righteous, give me the sense to flee into the arms of the Father.
Lord, help me, as I live in the warm embrace of God’s love, to be like God – forgiving, welcoming, restorative, and celebratory.
P. S. In Rembrandt’s painting of the prodigal (see above), he painted himself as the returning son.
About Dr. Larry TaylorRadical Anabaptist, Jesus Freak, Red Letter Christian, sailor, thinker, spiritual director, life coach, pastor, teacher, chaplain, counselor, writer, husband, father, grandfather, dog-sitter
Posted on September 15, 2018, in apologetics, Bible, Christianity, creation, Prayer, Spirituality and tagged Christianity, comfort, faith, fellowship, forgiveness, good, grace, healing, hope, hospitality, Jesus, joy, love, mercy, New Testament, peace, shalom, social justice, thoughtful, truth. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.