“Analysis of Luke 15:1-10,” by Andrew J. Schatkin
Ladies and Gentlemen: Once again I bid and ask you to join me in another intellectual adventure in which by the use of our critical faculties we may seek, attain and grasp and comprehend truth amid the forces of corruption and darkness which to serve to hide from us ultimate truth and facts. Please come with me in a quest for honest discernment in which political code words, such as ‘race’ and ‘undocumented’ are rejected and spurned as so much foolishness and in which media falsehoods and lies are cast aside and we gain and come to the light amid the darkness and tear apart the curtains that our society places in front of us to blind us from the truth that is carefully hidden and not stated.
Today ladies and gentlemen, I will explain and analyze one of Jesus’s most troubling series of sayings and most challenging in his words and thoughts found in the gospel of Luke chapter 15, verses 1-10: “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him and the Pharisees and the scribes murmured saying ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.’ So he told them this parable: what man of you having a hundred sheep if he has lost one of them does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one which is lost until he finds it And when he has found it he lays it on his shoulders rejoicing And when he comes home he calls together his friends and his neighbors saying to them ‘Rejoice with me for I have found my sheep which was lost. I tell you there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. O what woman having ten silver coins if she loses one coin does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it she calls together her friends and neighbors saying Rejoice with to I have found the coin which I had lost. Just so I tell you there is joy before the angels of god over one sinner who repents.”
My dear friends, readers, and thinkers what are we to make of what Jesus says here? Does he mean that he places greater value and worth over the sinners than persons who have been and lived righteous lives their entire existence? Why does Jesus choose as his friends or at least seems to favor for his company sinners? It is possible the term sinners here means those in violation of the ritual law but it could also means moral sinners. Either interpretation is possible
We have to understand two points here. First, the Jesus makes clear that he has come to save sinners. That is the first point to be understood; and second we must understand the great value Christ places on all persons, whether sinners or righteous, and that he says when one lost person in sin who repents and who came be with him in heaven is a matter for great rejoicing. In these parables, we are made to understand how god’s mercy breaks through all human categories of how we should act toward sinners. To the world, god may been seen as foolish to save the one sheep and locate the lost coin. Luke shows in these parables god’s great mercy and love for sinners int he person and story of the shepherd and the housewife. The key to understanding these verses is to grasp god’s love for all humanity and, in particular, for sinners. Jesus died and suffered greatly on the cross to save sinners His concern which is overwhelming is for sinners or all men and women and he will do the utmost possible to bring the sinner to heaven with him and when one sinner comes to Christ the rejoicing in heaven is very great. He sat and dined with sinners because it is sinners he came to save and be with him in heaven. There are no limits to people that are outside god’s mercy. These parables emphasize the universal character of god and his love in which there are no limits. Second, conversion and repentance are necessary before we can know and experience Christ and the joy of heaven. Finally, the call to repentance is only through Jesus Christ.
Dear friends, I do hope I have shed some light on the meaning and import of these verses and I well know how limited must be my understanding of the words of the eternal god and it is an honor and privilege to even attempt to interpret these verses and passage which greatly challenge our thinking and understanding of the gospel and the person and message of Christ.