Heaven is a party. Jesus is wanting to see his kingdom come, on earth, as it is in heaven. Following him is about copying heaven.
If God and the angels are having a great party in heaven every time someone meets Jesus, repents of sin and lives a new life in him, so should we.
Jesus shows them how – pretend you’re a shepherd who just found a lost sheep. That’s the kind of feeling he wants at his parties!
This is a great thing – because this wasn’t a special sheep. It was just a regular sheep who suddenly mattered because it got lost.
Remember his audience? There were sinners and tax colleectors listening. How would they hear this? They’d have heard that regular people, like them, are all valuable to God, particularly when we’re lost. He longs to have us home. He considers himself their shepherd. He is their protector, their guide, their comfort. Most of all he’s the one who will do whatever it takes to find them when they’re in trouble. He’s not interested only in the top tier of society, the professionally religious, wealthy and powerful people.
How would Pharisees hear it? They probably thought it was terrible.
We don’t have to be very good at following Jesus…yet. Jesus thinks of us as sheep, and they’re not the smartest livestock in the barn. This isn’t a story about a sheep finding the shepherd; it’s about the shepherd finding the sheep, whatever it takes.
That’s exactly what he did, the story of his life. He, the God of the universe, stepped away from heaven’s celebratory surroundings to come into our broken, messed up world. He saw how far we were from him, how much danger we were in, and did something about it. He said in John 10:11,
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
That’s exactly what he did. He did it so we would be safe from sin and death’s power over us. Our sin led to death, but instead of our death, it led to his. He was stronger than death, and broke its power by rising again, and inviting all of us to follow him into life as well.
He came to find his lost sheep, the human race, and bring us home to life with God, and the party that it is.
We were made for that life, but gave it up when we rebelled against God. Hardly deserve a second chance. But that’s exactly what he gives us, when he searches for us relentlessly, finds us, and returns us to a right relationship with God, who celebrates with a massive party each time.
What would we have to do, here, to make people see a bit of heaven here? How can we show them the kind of party God would have?
Meeting with a Group? Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide[permalink append=”#comments”]Discuss the Challenge[/permalink]