The Third Sunday after Trinity 07 July 2019 A.D. Holy Communion

                                                  The Third Sunday after Trinity  

                                            07 July 2019 A.D.   Holy Communion

The Epistle. 1 Peter 5:5-11                                                 The Gospel. St. Luke 15:1-10

                                  O Lord, we beseech thee mercifully to hear us; and
                                  grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire
                                  to pray, may, by thy mighty aid, be defended and comforted
                                  in all dangers and adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

THEN drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and. go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle. and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

                                                        “The value of one”
  When Jesus sat down to a meal with the crowd that was following him, we first notice that there was a division of that crowd.  Let me explain.  In the previous chapter, 14, Luke describes Christ’ visit to some well to do and honored men.  Scribes, pharisee, and other important people who had been walking along with Jesus all stopped to eat. It was the home of a chief Pharisee. And just happened to be on the Sabbath.  The whole chapter deals with place, a persons’ station in life, and privilege, all topics that would pertain to those Jesus was eating with. Now we come to the 15th chapter and Jesus, being no respecter of status, is getting together with the common folk. Not only are they common, some of them are in fairly coarse and rough businesses.  They run taverns, road houses, and are considered sinners by all people.   
     So what are we to make of this passage, especially the gives these common folk a value that is known by all the listeners as being of some worth.  What ?   
     Jesus answers the Pharisees and scribes statement: “...he visits with and eats with sinners...”. 
Jesus explains to the two groups the value of one.  He gives the value of a singe soul as been as important as a group of souls. He expresses the true value of human life, the worth of a single person when compared to a whole group.  Not that the larger group is ignored, it implied as having value, but the lost individual {the sheep or the piece of silver} is just as valuable as the others that are not lost. And what is the discovery of the lost sheep or coin described as: I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.   In the case of the sheep, the heavens rejoice when one sinner comes to repentance.  Here Jesus is pointedly telling the scribes and Pharisees that there is value in one. Each individual who comes to repentance is important, that repentance causes great celebration in heaven.  Just in case the “learned and wise” did not get the idea of the sheep parable, Christ then relates the parable of the lost coin.  And when the woman finds the lost coin, she calls friends together to celebrate the finding of the lost coin.
Jesus then says: “... Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth...”  So in each case, when one sheep or one coin is found it is celebrated as an individual found.   Jesus was teaching the scribes and Pharisees that ALL people were of value, not only those who society has deemed are of value {as we find described in the previous chapter}, why?  Because all human life is created in the image of God. 
   Our lesson today can be applied in so many ways.  We find many who are forgotten, many who are not allowed a day of life because they are terminated before they are born. There are large segments of society that see no value to human life, the streets of our cities run with the blood of murdered youth. Random killings taking place all over our nation simply because there is no value in human life.  We know that much of this chaos is inspired by the lack of a moral compass, the concept that we are but just animals who evolved to this level of existence, but animals none the less. So to expect anything else would not be logical in the eyes of our current society. 
   If we then look to what the Word of God has to say on this topic, we understand that value of one individual, as described by Christ’s parables.  
      The prophet Isaiah wrote “...all we like sheep have gone astray, each to his own way...”.  In this he was expressing our problem with sin, we head out for sin-land when given an opportunity.  Then when you compare that concept with the Good Shepherd passage of Jesus, we see that he reaches down through the ages and takes us, as individuals, and saves us from all sin.  He is the Redeemer, the Savior, the Good Shepherd, seeking that which was lost. Just as in the 15th chapter of Luke, we see Jesus reaching and saving his own.   “ sheep hear my voice...”  Read the 10th chapter of John’s gospel, the whole concept of the Good Shepherd is explained there.  Much of the chaos in this world if due to the fact that the World does not hear or know the Shepherd.
    So to conclude our lesson, let’s reflect on the meaning of one.  The idea that one person is just as important as many, one person is worth saving from their sins as much as many who are saved from their sins.   Time after time, people will think that they are not important in life. They think that they don’t matter. In the eyes of God, all those created in his image and called according to his purpose, shall be saved. For further insight on this, read the 8th chapter of the letter to the Romans.   Lots of meaning in that chapter.
   Let us remember that God sent his Only begotten Son into this world, to save sinners. All who are called to Christ will be saved. Pray that you will be a beacon of light to this fallen world. We are His ambassadors here on this earth, let us be about the King’s work.

Let us pray:

O ETERNAL God, through whose mighty power our fathers won their liberties of old; Grant, we beseech thee, that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain these liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.                                 Amen.

THE Almighty Lord, who is a most strong tower to all those who put their trust in him, to whom all things in heaven, in earth, and under the earth, do bow and obey; Be now and evermore thy defence; and make thee know and feel, that there is none other Name under heaven given to man, in whom, and through whom, thou mayest receive health and salvation, but only the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.                                                                                             Amen.

VERILY, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
THE Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this night and evermore. Amen.