“Dad, are you crying?” my daughters asked at the climax of the movie. Gone with the Wind? Old Yeller? No. Finding Nemo! Laugh if you must, but I’m always overwhelmed by stories of a love that goes beyond limits to rescue another. In Finding Nemo, Marlin, an overprotective clownfish, loses his son, Nemo, in the Great Barrier Reef. Motivated by great love, Marlin travels treacherous waters, encountering deadly sea creatures, and overcomes insurmountable odds to retrieve his lost boy. I may be overly sentimental, but it’s because I’ve been pursued by a love like that by a God who has gone to incredible lengths to find ME!
- Is there anything so valuable to you that you would give your life to find it, if you lost it?
READ THE WORD: LUKE 15:1-10 (ESV)
15:1 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: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What were the tax collectors and sinners doing with Jesus (vs. 1)? What were the Pharisees and scribes doing with Jesus, and what was their accusation against him (vs. 2)?
- Who initiated the search to find the lost sheep (vs. 4)? List the things he did once he found the lost sheep (vss. 5-6).
- Who initiated the search to find the misplaced silver coin (vs. 8)? What things did she do to find the coin (vss. 8-9)?
- How many times do you see a form of the word “rejoice” or “joy” in verses 6-17? After each story, how did Jesus describe what happens in heaven when a sinner repents (vss. 7, 10)?
- To what lengths has Christ gone to pursue you and to show you his love?
RESPOND TO GOD
These parables speak to God’s all-consuming, passionate heart to restore broken people to himself. He will go to great lengths to secure that restoration. God is in hot pursuit of our souls. His love is relentless. No one has wanted you and me more than God does! But do we recognize our brokenness and need for him? And is it as important to us to find lost people and to share the truth with them as it is to Jesus?
- Lord, draw me nearer to your heart today. I’m desperate for your compassion and forgiveness. May your overwhelming love change my heart so that I might extend the same to others.