Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:1-10
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Which of you would leave 99 sheep alone in the wilderness to go after one stray sheep, and when you find it, carry it back home, and throw a party in its honor? The answer is: No one in his right mind would do that! Which of you would spend all day looking for coin, and when you find you, throw a party and spend ten times what the coin was worth? Answer: No one.
God’s ways aren’t our ways. He seeks the lost and rejoices in the found. The religious were grumbling over Jesus’ dining habits. “He receives sinners and eats with them.” Outrageous! Shame on Him!
Shame on them, and us, too, when we judge the sin of others and fail to confess our own. Imagine a church with no sinners. It would be empty. Imagine a Lord’s Supper without sinners. There would be no communicants. Imagine if God just let sinful humanity grope in the darkness to find its way home. No one would be found.
As Adam was banished to the wilderness, so we are born as lost sheep. And God sent His Son Jesus to find Adam and his children. You and I are that lost coin, a dead asset unable to find itself. And Christ spent everything He had to find us, redeeming us not with gold and silver coins, but with His precious blood and death. The joy of Jesus is the joy of your salvation for which He endured the shame of the cross.
This is the searching, seeking love of God that restlessly pursues the lost until they are found, and when they are found there is rejoicing in heaven. Whenever you confess your sinfulness, whenever you kneel at the Lord’s Table, whenever a sinner is baptized into Christ, there is rejoicing among the angels in heaven.
This Man receives sinners and eats with them. Thanks be to God! That means He receives you and wants to eat with you at His table! Rejoice! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Gracious Father in heaven, Your Son sought me when I did not seek you; He found me in my lostness; He brought me. The angels rejoice, and I praise you, for Your Son’s sake. Amen.