My minister is preaching through the book of Luke this year.  This past week he preached on Luke 15 – the series of lost things.

The minister brought out in the sermon something I had not realized before.  Maybe that’s why he knows these things – he attended a Bible college, while I attended a Christian liberal arts college.

The thing I had not noticed before is that Jesus, in telling these parables, is telling people they are important.  The first parable is a shepherd who has a hundred sheep, and one is lost.  The second is a widow who had ten coins, and one was lost.  The final one – the Prodigal Son – is about a father who had two sons, and one was lost.

In my way of thinking, the progression would go the other way – surely one in two is worth more than one in a hundred, so telling it in reverse order would be more significant.  “Even if you’re one in a hundred, God cares about you!”  But that analogy breaks down.  “There are a thousand in this town, a million in this city, almost seven billion in the world.”  Jesus went the other way – “I care about you, regardless of what else is clamoring for my attention, no matter how good or bad you have been in relation to anybody else.  I love you.  I died for you.  Not dying for a hundred, or for ten, but a single person.  You.”

And that happens because our relationship with Jesus is personal.  My relationship with Jesus is personal.

There’s a saying that God doesn’t have any grandchildren.  That’s true.  God deals with us one-on-one.  I won’t go to Heaven based on my parents’ Christianity.  My favorite niece will keep her childlike faith much longer than I did, a great and unique blessing for her – and she will have to approach Jesus and accept Him as Lord and Savior on her own.

Then we get to the next level of progression – passing on what is good, and right, and honorable.  Just as my parents could not take me to Heaven, I cannot take you.  I can encourage you, pray for you, invite you to church, discuss big questions with you.  But you are the one who must turn your own heart over to God, invite Jesus into your heart, and be baptized.  Acts 2:38 says

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

I can’t promise all the answers.  I won’t promise an easy life.  I will promise an eternal life, based on the promises of Jesus, from John 14:1-3

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions;  if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Let’s go.

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