My Thoughts. . .
Sometimes there are individuals listening to Jesus who never realized the honor bestowed upon them. They usually manufacture the negative rather than learning the positive lesson being given.
Luke mentions tax collectors and “sinners” crowding closer to listen to Jesus. Can you imagine going downtown and the homeless, the alcoholics, druggies, and prostitutes surround you to hear what you are going to say? Off to one side are the rich, the famous, the elite, the socially accepted, the respectable clergy, and other noteworthy citizens. They are complaining because Jesus (or you) is welcoming and sharing food with those sinners (Luke 15:1-2). Like Jesus, you are treating those “nobodies” as if they are “somebody and ignoring “the acceptable” as if they are “the untouchables.”
Those tax paying people are upset with Jesus’ insane attention being given to the leaches of society. Even his illustrations seem to glorify a depreciation of personal responsibility. The first story has a man abandoning 99 of his sheep to go off hunting for one. It probably will be supper for a hungry wolf. Off he goes leaving 99 sheep without protection (Luke 15:3-7). Anyone with a lick of sense knows wolves travel in packs. 99 sheep will provide a bigger meal than will the one. Who would hire a shepherd that would think more of one than of the 99?
Then he adds to irresponsibility by talking about a woman who loses one of her ten silver coins. Lucky for her she finds it. At least she now has a clean house! However, she foolishly tells everyone she has wealth. Thieves in the crowd are happy to mark her treasure as their next job. Everyone needs sleep, and thieves work better in the dark! Foolish woman. She will get a good night’s sleep, but she will be minus 10 silver coins!
Ah, but Jesus does not stop. He adds another story of irresponsibility. It is about two brothers and their father! The youngest son does not want to work like his older brother. He wants to travel to see the world. He does not have the finances, so he expects dad to pay for his “happy-go-lucky” lifestyle. Dad, who always favored the younger one, like an idiot, gives the boy half his bank account. No responsibility is tied to that gift. Off the boy goes without so much as a “Thank you,” “Goodbye” or “Love you, I’ll write.” That money has a burning desire to be foolishly spent. Easy come. Easier to go! Foolish spending leads straight to the hog’s pen. The young man may be penniless and hungry, but he deviously plans his next move. He will go home, act repentant, and dad will gladly and blindly finance his next scheme. The older brother sees through this charade, but dad remains blind due to the youngest son’s deceptive charm. Sure enough, dad ends up sermonizing to the older brother. The irresponsible son is home to again leach off dad’s money! No more pig pen for him (Luke 15:25-32)! The societal crowd feels justified in their complaint and view of Jesus and his stories. They know they are right. Only a sinner would eat with sinners! No self-respecting Rabbi would do what Jesus is doing. They are the cream of societies crop! Anyone knows that if you spend time with “sinners” you take on their nature. Jesus spends time with them, so he is either hoodwinked, or a partaker. That is how some people view Luke’s account in chapter 15.