‘Lost’ was an American TV series containing elements of science fiction and the supernatural that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean. Over six series, the storyline was developed and this was a huge commercial success.
Last night, John looked at three ‘lost’ stories in Luke’s Gospel, looking at the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son (Luke 15:1-24). The idea of a ‘series’ is highly popular with films (think of the Lord of the Rings trilogy or the Harry Potter series), but in Luke’s gospel, each of the lost stories teaches us something new about God.
The lost sheep looks at the dangers of wandering away; the sheep wandered away from safety, with little understanding or regard of danger. It was only because of the care of the shepherd in risking his life (as David did, for example) that the sheep was rescued. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who gave his life for the lost sheep.
The lost coin was lost accidentally; it was not its fault that it went missing! The story focuses on the diligence of the woman in searching for the coin. In one sense, all people are under the curse of Adam; Romans 5:18 tells us that mankind is all subject to condemnation and judgment because of Adam’s sin. Thankfully, God made provision for us in sending His Son to redeem us from the curse; the plan and purpose of salvation was engineered by God before the foundation of the world.
The lost son was directly responsible for his plight. In his impatience and desire for independence, he ended up losing his inheritance, his home and his relationship with his family. But the story focuses on his repentance, how he had a ‘reality check’ and realised he had been a fool, changed his behaviour and returned to his father. His father had been looking and waiting for this moment, but even though he welcomed his son back with open arms, the son still offered to become a servant. The change in him was profound.
These three stories show us we need a Shepherd’s sacrifice, we need God to make provision for the lost to be found and there needs to be repentance on our part if we are to find forgiveness and restoration.
The value of an individual to God is great. One sheep out of a hundred was important to the shepherd. One coin out of ten was important to the woman. One of two sons was important to the father. We are all valuable and important to God who makes the difference – it’s ‘the touch of the Master’s hand’ which gives us our value and significance. We can’t believe in Jesus and be saved by accident; it has to be a conscious choice, like the son’s choice to return home. Will you make that choice?
‘The Touch of the Master’s Hand’