Know your role


Proverbs 16:18
18, 19. (Compare Pr 15:33). Haughtiness and pride imply self-confidence which produces carelessness, and hence a fall-literally, “sliding.”
We all know this famous verse of the bible, we’ve heard it in Sunday school, we’ve heard it in church and sometimes we come across it in our daily reading and devotionals. Some of us know it better like this “pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” I’ve done a couple of posts on the prodigal son and wanted to move on to something else but somehow God wouldn’t let me. I’ve come to realize how deep this parable is. You see in the verses preceding the prodigal son, Jesus told two other parables; one was of a lost sheep and the other of a lost coin. Both of these parables included a human and a non human. The first highlighted the love and concern the shepherd had for his sheep.  He understands that there are wolves out there and sheep by itself become an easy target for a hungry wolf. So he makes haste to find him. The bible states that the sheep strayed away from the shepherd and throughout the bible we see the relationship between sheep and it’s shepherd. We come understand the duties and commitments the shepherd has by simply reading psalms 23. In the next parable Jesus then talks about a woman who had ten silver coins and loses one. She proceeds to look for it searching diligently, turning on every light and looking in every corner until she recovers the coin. Then He talks about the prodigal son as we call him and we tend to just limit this parable to the young brother and his mistakes but it is deeper than that and has more lessons embedded in it than just a young man who wastes his inheritance on wild and loose living. We would call it being redundant if Jesus was attempting to tell the same story with the same principles three different times especially one immediately following the other. We would say Jesus was being redundant or His hearers were slow and stupid. Neither of these points are true. We know that He was not being redundant and that He was addressing well educated men. Even though the things of God are foolishness to unbelievers, these parables were discussed within the parameters of law and common sense. He brought it down to a level that they would understand and He told three different parables with three different meanings to make them think. When folks read Luke 15, they become so focused on the sin, the lost sheep means the sheep sinned, the lost coin must mean that the coin sinned. C’mon people, lets reason this out. If the sheep cannot sin, and the coin cannot sin then why do we look at the prodigal son as just sin? There’s more to it than that. This wasn’t about just sin, yes it was a part of it but the differences between the three parables is that the first speaks of a human and an animal, the second speaks of a human and an inanimate object and the third speaks of three humans, the father and his two sons. Sin is one side of the equation but the side Jesus tried to show the Pharisees was their response to those who were in sin and their lack of love and compassions towards such people. How could He get them to agree with him if He didn’t make them see themselves? Everyone there could agree that sin was an issue, but the Pharisees wasn’t going out to bring back the sheep because they were busy staying away from them. They also weren’t diligently searching for the lost coin so He had to make them see that what He was doing was a result of them failing to find value in a lost soul and undying compassion within themselves. Therefore Jesus had to then go on and further illustrate His point by speaking of the third parable saying if you can’t go out and find the lost sheep and if you won’t look for the coin then I have to sit with the sinners and dine with the tax collectors, I will restore and I will show love. He had to show the Pharisees what need to be done to win a soul. So lets stop looking at the sin for a minute and look at the other factors, the shepherd’s care and compassion for his sheep, the value of the coin to the woman and the love and teaching ability of a father. The shepherd is not Jesus nor is he a representation of Jesus. In the bible pastors and leaders are called shepherds, they are given a flock to watch over and Jesus is saying that if one of your sheep from your flock goes astray, it is the job of the shepherd to go out there and find this lost sheep then the bible says angels will rejoice. Jeremiah 23:1 says “What sorrow awaits the leaders of my people—the shepherds of my sheep—for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for,” says the Lord.  To shepherds everywhere, be careful of what you’re feeding God’s people. The woman is not Jesus neither is she a representation of Jesus, but the bible usually associates a woman with the church calling her the bride of Christ. What we have to understand is that the coin though lost was still in the house. Your brother while broken is still in the house, your sister while hurting is still in the house, your friend while lost is still in the house. The role of the shepherd is clear; teach the right doctrine, feed your sheep, take care of them and if one goes astray don’t consider that the ninety nine is enough to pay tithes and keep the lights on. Know that the ninety will be ok but the one is in danger. The role of the woman who is the church is simply this; Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also.  Sin is going to happen but Jesus was trying to point out what the shepherd should do about it and what the church should do about it.  We just don’t let them go and we don’t scorn them, we reinstate them in love and fellowship, we brave the wilderness to find them and we break out the flashlight to search for them. So yes sin was a factor but the emphasis was mostly placed on what are the spiritual ones doing about reinstating those who have gotten lost. So if sin was the main thing here then we would’ve gotten the point on the first parable and if we didn’t get it, then the second parable should suffice but each parable served a different purpose and pointed to a different role. I really want to continue with this but I don’t want to make it too long so I’ll continue in my next post. In the meantime, ask yourself this question, if the shepherd goes after the sheep and the woman searches for the coin, why didn’t the Father go after and find his lost son? I’ll explain this in my next post but please read Luke 15, email me or leave a comment and we’ll discuss it. God bless and thanks for stopping by. 

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