Big idea: a true understanding of grace transforms and builds community.
1 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: (the one in 100 lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost sons.)
Jesus is establishing a new community and those with influence are shocked at those Jesus includes, namely sinners. So in response to their grumbling he tells three parables whose point is grace which build community.
In this first parable of the lost sheep, we see three things:
I. Sheep are not dogs
Sheep are not like dogs who can find their way home, not eat themselves to the edge of a cliff, etc. In like ways, we are completely unable to save ourselves spiritually.
II. The nature of the search
At the same time we are utterly worthless and in need of a savior shepherd we are at the same time utterly loved beyond belief. We are his treasure, the lost coin.
III. The shepherd becomes a sheep.
what is our solution to being dumb sheep? Trying harder to follow better? Jesus was not just a good teacher who said things we should follow but rather a savior who was a perfect sheep in our place. The Passover is a celebration of the Jews being freed from slavery in Egypt. It pointed to Christ who was the lamb killed for us that we may be in his flock, being saved and led by the perfect shepherd.
Jesus was trying to convey to these religious people that God did not owe them anything for their self-effort to please God, and certainly not more than he owed the poor sinners that ate with Jesus. We all are owed hell for our sin.
Lets have this kind of utter, joyful dependence on the loving shepherd that became a dead sheep for me as his treasure, to all who run to him as their only hope to be found as the lost sheep that we are. This kind of grace builds real community!