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Phil Cann

trying to follow the teaching of Jesus...

In Luke 15 there are three stories - two short ones and one long one. About three very different objects or things... a sheep, a coin and a human (a bunch of humans actually). 

Now remember, these are made up stories - by the best story teller ever. These are not historical commentaries of actual events, they're illustrations... but they have things in common: each one has something that is lost, each has a searcher character and they all end in a party! 

The sheep in the first story knows it's lost, but doesn't know how to get back to the flock and the care of the shepherd - so it bleats. The problem with bleating sheep is they don't just attract the attention of the shepherd, they call predators too... hmm now there's a thought. So the shepherd gets there first... much to the relief of the sheep and does the hard work of lugging the sheep back to safety.

The coin has no clue its lost - no idea its being searched for and no idea its been found... so this story is about the character of the searcher really; diligent, relentless, not giving up until what is lost is found.

The long story is about a human who knows he's lost, and knows how to get home - he just needs to come to his senses! And the father figure lets him do just that, but as soon as he does the Father runs to him. 

I'm not sure if I'm making sense here, but we all pretty much fit into one of those stories - most people I meet are either lost and don't know the way back, or have no clue about anything, or they actually know the right thing to do but haven't come to their senses yet. At this point its a good thing to remember why Jesus is spinning these stories in the first place...

Well its because the religious people are ticked at who He welcomes: not just who He "teaches", but how very welcoming He is. Luke has "Lukeism", its his technique where he lays out in the narrative a bunch of groups of people and basically leaves it up to the reader to pick the group they most identify with... sneaky - but brilliant. And worth a re-read of Luke 15!