Third Sunday after Holy Trinity
Parable of the Lost Sheep & Coin
Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
It is written: Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So he told them this parable:... Thus far the text.
Let us pray: Gracious Father, who finds lost sheep and lost coins, find us and rejoice over us for we are lost without You; in the name of Jesus. Amen.
JESUS FOUND YOU. THANKS BE TO GOD.
Like lost lost sheep, Jesus is the Shepherd who found you.
Like the lost coin, Jesus is the Woman who found you.
And now what does the Lord do? He rejoices over you with singing (Zech). For you were lost but now are found.
BUT SOME OF YOU STILL GRUMBLE AT SUCH GRACE.
The Wednesday Bible study group had a good discussion about accepting a repentant sinner back into the fold. It is as difficult to discipline unrepentant Christians as it is to demonstrate love and forgiveness to the Christian who has repented.
The particular public unrepentant sin that St. Paul addressed in the Corinthian letters concerned a family in the Corinthian congregation. The sin was that a young man had his mother…It’s called incest. (I’m being discreet). The congregation did not want to deal with the problem. Could we blame them? The family was in all other respects a good family. St. Paul needed to persuade them that it was unloving to let this ongoing, publicly known sin continue in the congregation. The effect of breaking God’s Word in such a way brings grief to all involved. False teaching and unrepentant lifestyles cause people to fall from the faith. So, the congregation, reluctantly, removed the young man from the Lord’s table and rebuked him SO THAT he might repent and return to the Lord.
And so it happened. The young man repented. He agreed with God’s Law that his action was against the will of the Lord. He agreed with the Lord that his action was born from sin and unbelief. He stopped the action and asked for mercy.
Which lead us back to the Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin.
It is written: And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “(Jesus) receives sinners and eats with them.”
It could easily be said this way: And the Corinthian congregation grumbled, saying, “St. Paul receives practicers of incest and eats with them in Holy Communion.”
But, the Law has worked repentance in the man. The incest is stopped. He is now despairing of the grace and mercy of God.
So it is with the “tax collectors and sinners (who) were all drawing near to hear (Jesus)”. They were despairing under the weight of their sin. They needed the Gospel. They needed to be found by the Lord.
So Jesus speaks a parable to the Pharisees and scribes, the Corinthian congregation, and to the whole church on earth including Our Savior Lutheran Church in Muscatine. The parable is this:
4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 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 that was lost.’ 7 Just so, 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.
WHAT IS OUR REPENTANCE FOR THIS MORNING?
What is our repentance for this morning? It might be to forgive a repentant homosexual and accept him back into the fold of our congregation. If you are that repentant homosexual you are welcome in the Lord’s house because Jesus found you with His Word like a Shepherd finding His lost sheep.
What is our repentance for this morning? It might be to forgive a woman who is repentant of her abortion and accept her back into the fold of our congregation. If you are that repentant lady (or repentant boyfriend, or repentant husband, or repentant family member who supported the abortion) you are welcome in the Lord’s house because Jesus found you with His Word like a Woman finding her lost coin.
Finally, and most importantly, what is our repentance for this morning? It might be be to forgive a person who is repentant of denying the inerrancy and power of God’s Word and parables and accept that person back into the fold of the congregation. If you are that person you are welcome in the Lord’s house because Jesus found you with His Word.
As Jesus says in first Peter: 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of (our Father) so that at the proper time He may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on (Me, Jesus), because (I, Jesus, am taking care of you).
JESUS IS TAKING CARE OF YOU
Jesus is taking care of you. He is like a mother who finds her baby crying. What does she do? She cradles the baby in her arms. She comforts her baby. She takes care of her baby.
Jesus pardons your iniquity.
Jesus does not retain his anger (against you) forever.
Rather, Jesus delights in steadfast love toward you.
Jesus will again have compassion on you.
Jesus will tread (your) iniquities underfoot.
Jesus will cast all (your) sins into the depths of the sea.
Jesus will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham and to Our Savior Lutheran Church.
Jesus has sworn this to our fathers from the days of old.
JESUS FOUND YOU. THANKS BE TO GOD.
Like a lost sheep, Jesus is the Shepherd who found you.
Like a lost coin, Jesus is the Woman who found you.
And now what does the Lord do? He rejoices over you with singing (Zech). For you were lost but now are found; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Amen)
The peace of God, which passes understanding, guard and keep you in Jesus Christ, our Savior. (Amen)