A brilliant idea for an article came flashing through the mind. It didn’t last long. Everybody has to settle for second best. Better start typing before this article becomes third best. It is sort of like those brief glimpses of glory we receive from time to time. We get little tastes of Jesus and how it is to be. Before we know it that little glimpse disappears.
I read a book last week that will be placed in my “top 10” pile n my desk. It is actually a “top 16” stack. It is Tim Keller’s Encounters with Jesus. If you want to tickle the brain and be amazed once again with Jesus take the opportunity to read it. I keep mentioning this one. It is a keeper.
Keller takes ten encounters that 10 different people have with Jesus and explodes them. He did a fantastic job. It got me thinking about my top 10 Jesus moments (mine are not 10 personal encounters) in the gospels. There is the forgiveness of the woman caught in adultery. A place in heaven reserved for the thief on the cross. The rescue of Peter after he begins to drown while walking on water inspires. These are all great interactions with Jesus.
My personal favorite that tops the list is in the gospel of Luke, chapter 15. For those well versed with Scripture it is known as the Prodigal Son chapter. While true, it is so much more. Jesus uses parables to define people in need, a rescuer and a party. I have to admit, it’s the three parties that attract me.
In his chapter Jesus defines humans as those who are like a lost coin, a lost sheep and a rebellious son. I think I have been all three at some time in my life. Coins get lost like car keys. The table gets bumped. Maybe there is a hole in the pocket. There is no blame to go around. Life gets us and we become lost.
Other times I have been like a lost sheep. Lambs lose their way by with their heads down eating the next blade of grass and the next blade of grass and so on. Eventually they lift their heads and don’t have any clue where they are and where they are going. My favorite saying fits this with no problem. I’ve been there and done that. Life has a way of eating us up.
There are also those moments in life that are probably a little more often than we like to admit. It is those times we are rebellious children. We demand our own way. We get it. We might enjoy our way for a season. Only problem…seasons change. We end up worse off than when we started. Sin and rebellion does not breed success, at least not the kind of success that brings peace, grace and a lot of love. It usually creates more problems.
In each of these life experiences the coin, the lamb and the son end up lost. They aren’t in the place where they belong. The coin has no value as it lays hidden. The lamb is in great danger away from the herd. The son is away from his family wandering lost in an unforgiving world.
Well, the beauty of the three stories is that regardless of how you got there we are found. We are redeemed by one (Jesus) who finds the coin, goes after the lamb and welcomes the son back without question. Why? We are his children. Now we get to my favorite part. There are no lectures about being wrong. There is no switch to bring into submission the lost lamb. There is no sense of a beat down. No, instead there is a party. The coin has its value restored. The lamb is safe. The son is with his father. All is well. Let’s party. Now you’re talking.