Scripture reading for April 12th: Luke 15:1-32
Heaven is a wonderful place where there is no death, crying, pain or suffering. There is joy unspeakable and the glorious presence of God filling the atmosphere. There is no need of light from sun or moon, because God’s glorious presence actually lights up the place! (Revelation 21:1-7) (Revelation 22:4-5) What could cause a place like heaven to break forth with exceeding rejoicing? What event here on earth actually provokes a joyous response in heaven? Today’s reading gives us revelation about these amazing outbursts of joy!
Jesus told three parables to counter the accusation of the Pharisees and Law teachers: “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” The first parable was the lost sheep of the shepherd with ninety-nine safely in the fold. This shepherd left the flock in search of the lost one and found it. He was full of joy and placed the scared sheep on his shoulders and went home. When there, he called a party and had a celebration with his neighbors and friends! This parable was a picture of what happens in heaven when one sinner is found! “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner that repents than over ninety-nine that do not need to repent.” (Luke 15:7)
A second parable involved a coin lost in a woman’s house from ten coins she had saved. She searched diligently until she found the lost coin. She called all her friends and neighbors and had a party! “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10) As a coin of that day bore the image of the King, so each person bears the image of God. God rejoices when they are safely home!
The final story was of the lost son. This prodigal had left his father and taken his inheritance and then wasted it. He found himself in a pigpen and then decided to repent and go home to his father. Father ran to greet him, kissed him, and restored him. He killed the fattened calf and threw a party. The lost son had come home! This is what causes heaven to rejoice! Isn’t it time to come home to Father’s house? What a party awaits and heaven loves to rejoice when the lost return!