At the closing of each of the parables in Luke 15 we see one thing in common: Celebration!
5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’
9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Jesus makes sure He closes each story with a celebration so we remember that joy is part of Christianity…and that this joy is to be shared. There is a gathering of believers rejoicing together, celebrating the reunion that makes the family whole again!
7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
There is a big party in our heavenly homestead when a lost child returns. Can you imagine it? Just thinking about gives me goosebumps! Just thinking about the possibility of reconciliation…
Among the posts I´ve shared there are deeply personal stories from my family. Although I´m writing them from the relative safety provided by the distance those years gone by have offered, the issue is yet to be resolved. The stories still carry the sting of a recent hurt and the pain of an open wound. There has been no celebration, no big feast, no reconciliation, no family reunion.
That’s why any comparison between Jesus’ illustrations of Our Heavenly Father’s relationship with His children with our earthly family relationships is always lacking. It’s always wanting. It’s never complete. That is precisely why Jesus used examples from our messed up world and flawed relationships. Because we could relate to the great elation that imagining the possibilities in each instance would bring to our souls. That’s why He started the parables by saying: “suppose” …because we can only imagine it.
We can’t imagine God as the best humanity has to offer. The best humanity has to offer is still infinitively far too beneath God. Read Psalm 104:
Praise the Lord, my soul.
Lord my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.
He is the Only One who can make the impossible, possible. That’s why the celebration of the pure joy of the ultimate reunion happens within His Court. While we toil on this hard land, we suppose and imagine and get a dim sense of the jubilation. But, although vague, our hope is not an illusion floating among the clouds. While we don’t necessarily get to fully celebrate here on this earth, we do have the certainty of victory, because our victory is not really ours. Our hope is grounded on He who makes us victors. Our Hope is our Lord Jesus the Christ! The One and Only who seeks us while we are lost. The One and Only whose sacrifice spilled out Grace, the Grace that opens the blood-stained path that leads us home.