Jesus is the man. Let’s just be honest. He is the man. I love how He was bold enough to just speak truth -no matter the cost.
Sadly, we live in a day and age where speaking the truth is practically labeled as “Hate Speech.” In fact, sometimes speaking the truth, according to the Bible, is literally labeled as “Hate Speech.” I guess some things never change.
I love the exchange in Luke 11 between Jesus and the religious elite. Jesus was invited to eat with a Pharisee, but the Pharisee quickly becomes offended because Jesus did not wash before eating. The following response from Jesus did not exactly go over well:
And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.” (Luke 11:39–41, ESV)
But wait, there’s more…
“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.” (Luke 11:42–44, ESV)
Not exactly a compliment coming from the lips of our LORD. Sometimes the truth hurts. The right response for the Pharisees, I believe, would have been to realize that they were wrong in their religious practices. It really was the grace of God to be given this opportunity to face the facts. Instead, we see one of the lawyers who were there come to the defense, of sorts, of the Pharisees… and certainly of themselves.
One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.” (Luke 11:45, ESV)
Did Jesus back off at this point? Not so much.
And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.” (Luke 11:46–52, ESV)
Certainly the religious elite who had been rightfully put in their place would see the truth in this, right? No. Sadly, they did not…
As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say. (Luke 11:53–54, ESV)
Luke 15 contains the stories of three lost things. First the lost sheep, then the lost coin, and then the lost son. Much could be (and has been) said about these individual stories, but there are two primary things that stuck out to me as I was reading tonight.
First, the finding required looking. The shepherd went out looking for the lost sheep. The woman lit and lamp and swept the house looking for the lost coin, and the father saw his son coming back while he was still off in the distance. Jesus is a Great Redeemer and a Glorious Savior, but if we want to see Him at work, redeeming and saving those around us, we have to be willing to go looking for lost things.
Second, there was incredible rejoicing when the lost become found! For the shepherd, he called together his friends and neighbors to celebrate with him. For the woman, she called together her friends and her neighbors to celebrate with her. For the father, he brought the best robe, a ring, and shoes for the previously lost son to wear. He slaughtered the fattened calf and threw a party. There was much to celebrate!
I am afraid that we have become far to apathetic. If we’re honest, we have become lukewarm, at best. We don’t seem to care enough for the lost things in our world to seriously go looking for them. If and when what was lost becomes found, we are only mildly excited… for like two seconds.
Let’s flip the script! Let’s care enough to seek diligently for lost things (especially lost people!) Let’s pray and believe that God wants to show Himself to be the Great Redeemer and Glorious Savior that He is. When the lost get found, let’s throw a party!