Read: Luke 19:10
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Jesus told his listeners three parables together—the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. In each of the first two parables there is a lost object and someone who goes out, searches for it, and brings it home with joy. The shepherd searches until he finds the lost sheep. The woman searches until she finds the lost coin. So what is missing from the third story?
- Who goes and searches for the lost son?
- Who should have gone out to search for this lost boy?
It was the older brother’s job to sustain the family’s unity and its place in the community. But the elder brother in the story points to a true elder brother, one who, if we go astray, won’t hold it against us but seek us and bring us back at any risk and any cost to himself.
We do have a true elder brother. Jesus came to earth and truly obeyed his Father and never disobeyed his orders. He truly had the right to all the Father owns. Instead, he took on humanity and searched for us, found us in the pigsty, and carried us home on his shoulders singing with joy. And he gave us his robe, his ring, his place, his wealth—it is all at his expense.
Earlier this week I asked which son you identify with more closely. I think it was Tim Keller who said that younger sons, like Jesus, but reject Christianity and elder sons tend to create obstacles for those who desire to believe.
Jesus spoke to this group of sinners and tax collectors, Pharisees and scribes. And he spoke these three parables to each of us as well. The question is, how will we respond?