Journey to the Resurrection: The Seeking Father
Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Jesus came, as the eternal Son of God, according to the covenant of redemption made in the Godhead (Titus 1:1-3) before creation, to come and redeem a people from the curse that was to be come due to rebellion.
Luke 15:1-3 “So he told them this parable:”
“So” indicates the purpose of the following stories. Jesus is teaching, through story, to correct the theological and therefore practical error of grumbling against him attracting and receiving sinners.
“Them” indicates the audience of the stories, the Pharisees and scribes who are grumbling against Jesus receiving sinners.
“Parable” indicates, in the singular, that the following stories contained in verses 4-32 are one parable told in three stories to emphasize certain aspects in different ways through repetition.
So, the parable is addressing the error made by the Pharisees and scribes by showing us what the Father is doing.
The Big Idea: Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
1. The fall, and subsequently the curse, have ravaged all of humanity and creation.
2. Image bearers are alienated and at war with God.
3. Father has given the Son a kingdom of people from all nations (Genesis 11-12:1-3).
The gospel of John gives us a glimpse into this Inter-Trinitarian relationship of Father, Son and Spirit.
Let’s highlight the portion of that glimpse that focuses on Father giving the Son a kingdom of people.
John 6:37 “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
Present/Active/Indicative – Those presently coming to Jesus in faith in spite of the hard teaching are from the Father as opposed to those who only wanted to come to Jesus because he fed them and turned the water into wine.
John 17:6, 9, 20 – 24 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.”
Present/Active/Indicative – Jesus has been obedient in giving the word to those given in his earthly ministry.
“I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.”
Perfect/Active/Indicative – Jesus prays for those the Father has given him using the tense that indicates their security in him as being fixed.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”
Perfect/Active/Indicative – Jesus desires that all the people given to him in eternity past, whose status is securely fixed in Christ, would see him as he is, in his full glory. (By the way, this is why you are secure and your completion in Christ is fixed and will be completed…Philippians 1:6)
THEREFORE Luke 19:10 tells us that Jesus came to seek and save those the Father has given him who have been lost and ravaged by the fall and subsequent curse by going to he cross, dying in their place for their sin and rising from the grave to secure the completion of their effectual calling, repentance and faith and persevering grace until all from all nations have heard and come.
THIS is precisely what the Pharisees and scribes are protesting! Jesus receiving the ones Father has given from the fall who they didn’t want to see come in…tax collectors and “sinners”.
By the way, the grumbling brother at the end of the 3rd story is the Pharisees and scribes.
So, Jesus tells a parable to drive home a mighty theological truth: Jesus is seeking out the lost because Father is seeking out his lost. John 5:19 tells us that Jesus does what he sees the Father doing, so Jesus is seeking out the lost.
What Are The Theological Truths Jesus Wants To Communicate In This Parable?
1. The Lost Require Seeking v. 4, 8, 20-24
- The sheep did not know how to get home.
- The coin could not find its way back to the pocket of its owner.
- The son would not come home until he knew his father to be good even to his servants.
The father had been seeking his son his whole life. Its just that the son was blinded by his sin, and when the blinders of sin were removed through reaping what he has sown, he remembered the goodness of his father and that draws him to head home.
The daddy’s rescue mission was his goodness to his son and that goodness birthing new life in the boy to cause him to come home.
2. The Father is Diligently Seeking v. 4, 8, 20-24
Notice that there is great work undertaken to find what is lost.
Note, however, in the story of the lost son how, in verse 20, that the Father spots his son “while he is a long way off…(and)…ran and embraced him and kissed him.”
This is because the father was diligently looking for his son to return. His eyes were straining on the horizon in anticipation of his son’s return.
(Don’t read too much into the details of the story, it’s not an alegory, it’s a parable. The point is not to try and match every detail up but to get the theological point. That point is that Father is a seeking Father.)
Church Phillips of Cafe 1040 told the story in Perspectives about an older man and business owner who traded in sheep, goats, rugs and any needed good in the desert in North Africa. This man rescued Chuck from a breakdown in the middle of the desert where that sort of thing would end in death due to dehydration, therefore, before returning to civilization Chuck had the honor of going with on a trip to buy and sell to the Burbur people in the desert. Accompanying the older man and Chuck were some younger hired hands.
Chuck tells the story of several days further into the desert there is an argument between the older man and his young guys. The older man then leaves the main road headed straight into the desert. Chuck barely knows any of the language and has no clue what has happened. So Chuck decides to take his chances with the older man who rescued him. These two travel on foot 2 days into the dunes. Chuck has no clue what is happening, if he will ever survive and get home.
As they crossed a dune, down in the hot and sandy valley there was a lone sheep. That man went, put that sheep on his shoulders and took him back the two days to be with the rest.
The old man left the rest and went to go get his beloved sheep. The hired hands thought it too invaluable to risk life to go get. The one to whom the sheep belonged was not willing that his sheep should be left.
As a shepherd will go after one that strays, so the Father will go after his lost sheep from all nations.
He is a seeking Father!
- There is no barrier he won’t overcome to get to those that are his.
- There is no distance he won’t go.
- There is no danger too dangerous that he can’t deal with.
- There is no hard heart too hard to be regenerated by the Spirit.
- There is no will too steely that he can’t break it.
- There is no closed country where Father isn’t already at work seeking to fulfill his promise to Abraham and give the Son a redeemed humanity. So we go.
- Because Father is a seeking Father, we go seeking the revealing of the children of God with the effectual good news.
- Father is looking and ready to embrace his found.
- No one can say they are unloved.
Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I’m found…
3. The Father Finds the Lost v. 5-6, 9, 17-19
Notice the language of the stories. They say, “And when…”
Its not a matter of “if”. It’s a matter of when the Father brings to the Son those he’s purchased at the cross.
The effectual work of the father in the 3rd story is that he was good and good to his boys. So when the fruit of sin caught up with that boy, his father’s goodness was evident and it regenerated his heart to head for home content to be a slave.
Father will find the lost.
The goodness of the gospel seeks out the lost. Jesus becomes better than life and people repent and believe.
- The seeking Father will effectually find and bring his gift of a redeemed humanity to the Son.
- The seeking Father will never fail to woo and draw those who are his.
4. The Father Celebrates and Restores v. 5-7, 9-10, 22-24
The God of the bible is a happy God!
I’m convinced that mankind likes to throw events and parties because God throws heavenly events and parties. It’s just that broken image bearers pervert what is holy and turn it into an opportunity to continue the rebellion. That is no excuse for the Christian to avoid throwing good and right and happy and fun celebrations!
He’s promised us a feast with good things and the fruit of the vine when the kingdom is fully and finally established.
The God of the bible sings and dances (Zephaniah 3:17).
The God of the bible also restores.
The son in the 3rd story thought he’d beg to be taken back a slave. No such thing.
See, it does the sinful flesh good to tone the gospel down a bit and reserve some punishment for us so that we can have a part in atoning for our sin. It does not work that way.
Grace plus works ruins grace.
If the son had been taken back as a slave he’d be less than a son.
But he is a son. So, there will be no justice for him. The father accepts the loss of his property, puts the ring on his finger and shoes on his feet and throws a dad gum party!
When sinners come home, there is no second class to it. There is nothing to pay back. There is no payment that has to be paid nor could it be paid. The Father paid the debt himself at the cross as his punished the eternal Son for all the sinning we had/are/will do so that when we come home he restores “what the locust has eaten” and treats us like the sons and daughters we are!
Father restores and he celebrates.
What Should We Do With The Truth God is a Seeking Father?
Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”