Yesterday at MCC we spent some time talking about the way Jesus ate. He was under constant scrutiny because:
“This man welcomes sinners…and eats with them.” [Luke 15v2 TNIV]
To eat with these groups would have been a social scandal in Jesus’ day. It meant that he was identifying himself with the two groups, whom the religious leaders despised.
Tax Collectors were traitors, working in cahoots with the Romans.
Sinners were unclean. If we eat with them, we might become unclean too.
So, in order to explain his reason for eating with these particular groups of people, Jesus tells three stories in Luke 15:
a story about a lost sheep, a lost coin, and lost sons.
This last story illustrates Jesus point perfectly.
There are two kinds of lost-ness.
One son, the younger one, takes his Dad’s money, buys a plane ticket to somewhere else, and bolts. He finds himself in a mess…and he knows he’s lost and needs to return to the father. This is the kind of lost that knows its lost.
The older son was equally distanced from the father, not geographically, but in his heart. He was always at home, but he had allowed all this other stuff to come between him and his father. This is the kind of lost that has no idea it’s lost.
I know we’ve all heard this story a thousand times, but after you read it and think about it, what is your reaction to it?
Whom do you most identify with in this story?