“In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.” – Luke 15:10.
We have been talking about the three stories Jesus told in Luke 15 over the course of this week. Each story speaks of something lost and then found. A lost sheep. A lost coin. And a lost son. And at the end of each one, Jesus describes a party, a celebration. The shepherd throws the party for the lost, now found sheep. The housewife throws a party because of the lost, now found coin. And the father throws a party in honor of his lost, now found son. Three parables, all ending with a celebration.
Jesus says in Luke 15:10: “…there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.” Heaven celebrates when the lost are found. Charles Spurgeon said it this way: “Christ is not glorified because He was born in a manger but because He is born in a broken heart.”
Think about this for a second. How do we explain the celebration? What is the big deal? It is not a country, or a city, or a county, or even a neighborhood. We are talking about one person. There is joy and rejoicing over one person. Jesus says, “In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!” (Luke 15:7)
Without the Bible telling it differently, we would assume that God has bigger goals at any moment than one person. But the Bible tells us otherwise. Think of it this way. It is your birthday and you are at the Florida State/Clemson football game with 80,000 other fans. The game is suddenly halted in the middle of the most important series in the game and the entire stadium rises and bursts into a birthday song. The teams leave the field and a huge birthday cake with lighted candles is moved into the middle of the field in your honor. Everybody is chanting your name.
How would you feel? Overwhelmed, or maybe humbled that your birthday created all this excitement. Every person matters that much to God. And when one person accepts Jesus as their Savior, Heaven pauses for a celebration. That seems to be the only criteria that warrants a party in Heaven. When we get promoted, or close that deal, or get out of debt, or give to the church, or we lead a small group, there is no party.
Do we share that same passion for those far from the heart of God? Do we have the same enthusiasm when someone finds God?
- Do you fully understand your value to God? The value of all people?
- Why do you think the angels rejoice when a lost sheep comes back home to God? Why do they care?
- What can we do to increase our passion for those far from the heart of God?