What Brings Joy in Heaven? [Luke 15]
1Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. 2Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them."
3So He told them this parable, saying, 4"What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5"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 which was lost!'
7"I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
In this chapter Jesus tells two more stories to illustrate the point He is trying to make. The next one is about the woman who loses one of her ten silver coins and the second is the story of the lost (prodigal) son. In each of these you sense not only compassion but also an overwhelming sense of how valuable the lost one is to the shepherd, woman and the father. All three were willing to make sacrifices at a huge risk in order to find that which was lost.
If you are a parent you have probably lost a small child at some point in your life. I have on more than one occasion and now have witnessed it with my grandchildren. One time whiling traveling around Europe with three small children to meet my husband who was on a Navy ship, my three and half year old darted into an elevator in a six story department store in Spain. Thankfully, I was with another American and could quickly eave my other two children with her and jump on the next elevator. I frantically pushed every button and stopped at each floor to call out her name. She wasn't waiting at the door on any floor. It took a least fifteen minutes, which seemed like long hours, before I could find someone who spoke English to help me find her. I still can feel the fear and compassion for her as I pictured her not knowing where to go or what to do. Oh the relief and the pure joy when I could wrap her in my arms again. Yet, those emotions are just a fraction of what the Heavenly Father feels when the child He has created, loved intently and sought after comes to Him in repentance.
One lost child found through repentance - this brings joy in heaven.