And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy. Luke 15:5
He sets him on his shoulders with great joy.
No judgmental words were spoken. No scanner to run through the lost soul. He does not inspect the once was lost and now is found. Does it have what it takes to belong to the flock again? Does it have the same wool after it has gone in it’s own way? How much he has changed in his unfruitful journey?
No interrogation was conducted. Why did you leave? Where have you gone? Don’t you know the way back home? Why did you not call or scream? No light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Only light coming from the Shepherd’s heart radiating on the found.
There was no quarantine needed. No need to wait for waiting hours. No need to fill up clearance papers before going in. The lost sheep gains full access again, not only to the flock but to the Shepherd. The wanderer wonders, “After all, I’ve done and have gone. My Shepherd opens his arms, opens his heart.”
He just puts him near him. He just lifts him up, together with his spirit. He carries him like never before so the sheep knows he is welcome. His search all shadowed with joy, great joy.
Such is our Shepherd, Lord Jesus Christ.
Whatever you are when he found you. Whoever you are where he set his eyes on you. He is just joyful he found you.
He will carry you back. He will take you, as you are.
Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. Isaiah 49:15
It was a deliberate short-term amnesia.
I left my mother as I marched down to my high school graduation. I was one of the students getting honors and my mother came to march with me. I did not call her out that the entrance ceremony was about to begin. She made her dress by herself for this day. She prepared for my big day. She was proud of me but I guess I’m not of her. I marched down alone as my classmates held hands with their fathers or mothers.
I got the hardest scolding of my life after that. She was trembling with anger that I deliberately forgot about her. She was asking for explanation why I did what I did but I had no reason for my fault against her. And she has every reason to forget that I am her son.
But she did not. She continued to be my mother. She blessed me every day after that. She gave me life’s insights through her words and actions. She cared for me up until her last breath on her bed. She did not forget.
Just like God.
How many times you have deliberately have forgotten about him? When it is high time that you hold his hand, and declare he is with you, you turn your head to the other direction, clasp your own hand and forget to call his name. There were times, publicly, you have shunned association with this living God who loves you and cares for you.
Yet, this is the same God who stays with you and stays being your loving God. He is the same God who blesses your days and guides you to lead you to a prosperous life, a future and a hope. A God whose tender love gets you through the difficult times. A God who continues to remember his faithfulness in the midst of your unfaithfulness. A God who remembers to pull you out of the deep waters whenever you focus on the winds rather than on him. A God who will stand up for you and with you when people around you are about to stone you. He never forgets you. He will never forget you.
He got no amnesia.
…and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
I woke up in an unfamiliar place.
Once a month, we go down to New Jersey to attend our community’s prayer meeting. To cut cost on hotel, my family sleeps over a brother and sister’s home before or after the meetings. We sleep in their comfortable basement yet every time I wake up in the morning, I get this unfamiliarity. I have to take my whole bag to the bathroom, which I don’t do at home. I come up to their breakfast table wondering where will I get my tea or food which I usually and easily does in our kitchen back home. In all these unfamiliarity, I get to miss our home.
He woke up in an unfamiliar place.
Manger. Hays and horses. Lowly shepherds and wise men mixing it up. Teenage mother bearing him in her arms. Carpenter father looking with amazement. This is the first sight of Jesus’ eyes. Unfamiliar.
He is King, now he is an infant. He is worshiped day and night, now he is in the middle of a dark cold night. He tells angels to come here and there, now he is dependent on his earthly parents. He has a Father who created the universe, the world, everything, now he has a father who creates something out of wood.
Let me tell you why he is in this unfamiliar place. For him to become familiar to you. He came to that unfamiliar place to come near to you for you to know him and love him. He came to that unfamiliar place for you to know how much he will go to express his love for you.
The man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there. After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him, “Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” John 5:13-14
He lost Jesus but Jesus found him.
He will surely lose Jesus for he did not know who healed him. He was not walking and was lying on his mat for thirty-eight years yet when he was healed by Jesus, he did not take note who healed him. Maybe the healing was instant. Maybe it was too fast for him. Maybe it was too fast for him. Maybe he was focus on the healing and not on the healer. As the crowd ate Jesus, the man who tiptoes in his first steps, loses his healer.
It may happen to us. When we are fixated on the blessings and not on the One who is blessing us, we lose sight of him. When the healing is too much for us, that too much can crowd our hearts and forget who did it for us. Overwhelmed by his grace, we can take for granted his constant presence in our daily lives of constant routine. The crowd of career, family and friends may get in the way for us to acknowledge him.
But Jesus found him. Jesus sought him. The sheep lost the shepherd and the shepherd found him. In his first steps, he loses sight of Jesus. In his next steps, Jesus finds him. Jesus did not go to another town to pursue his mission, the man was his mission. He sought this man for once again he loses Christ.
Jesus finds us when we lost him. He seeks the lost who lost him. He has given us much but he will give us his presence, its all we need. The shepherd will go out of his way to bring us back to his way. He makes sure our hearts will be in the right place when we are in the wrong place. When the crowd is too much for us, Jesus will emerged and will say his first word to us, “Look…”
We lost Jesus but Jesus finds us.
The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah? They went out of the town and came to him. John 4:28-30
This was a field trip.
There was no connection between her and the people. No part of the people were her friend. They ignore her and she ignores them. She was alone at the well taking water.
Check that. She was not alone at the well. She was with Jesus. Being with Jesus made the difference. Speaking with Jesus opened her to a new life. Knowing that Jesus knows her sins yet sat with her and spoke with her mattered to her. He did not ignore her.
It changed her.
She goes to the people. She used to ignore them. She used to go where they aren’t. She gets water when they are all drinking water. But now after meeting Jesus, she goes to them. She spoke with them and breaks the news about the Messiah.
It changed the people.
They listened to her. They don’t used to be near her but now she is inches away from them. They used to talk about her and her husbands but now they are talking to her. Not only that, they believed her that they wanted to know what she knows — the Messiah.
Change brought by Christ brings you out of yourself. Out of your sinful nature. Outside of your comfort area. Out of your dark past. Out of your discriminating norm. Allow yourself to go out of your zone and speak about Christ to your family, friends or neighbors. A group of people may go out of themselves when they hear out someone’s life changing experience with Jesus.
One destination — come to Jesus. One action — out of town.
Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. Luke 18:10
It’s the study of sinners.
If Jesus is a science teacher, Jesus discusses two species for you to ponder who will you be.
The Pharisee does not expose his sins to God, who knows his sins. He is confident of his righteousness. He is boasting of his work. He comes before God like he is attending a masquerade party, he has a mask. He even points to others and not to himself. He exalts himself, he acts like he is looking to God yet he is looking at himself.
The tax collector exposes himself as a sinner. He is not confident of himself but he is confident of God’s mercy, he is confident God forgives his transgressions. He does not boast of he does or what he did but surely he boasts of God’s merciful work. He comes before God without any cover on his face, he uncovers his sins before God. The tax collector points only to himself as the prime principal of sin. If he is in a police line-up, he declares himself as guilty. As he pinpoints himself, his heart opens up for heavenly grace. He does not exalt himself, he acts like he is looking at himself yet he is looking to God, for his mercy.
At this point, choose who will you be before God. A Pharisee or a tax collector?
Be confident of God’s mercy. Expose your sins and yourself to him for nothing is hidden from him. Depend on his work and not on what you have done or what you can achieve, boast of God ‘s work. Uncover your sins for God loves you in spite of these. If you want to point to someone else, make sure that someone else is you. Exalt God by humbling yourself.
Friends, reflect on how you pray and come before God. Study sinnergy.