Yesterday I started a new message series called “The Prodigal God.” I am using some ideas from Timothy Keller’s book of the same name and preaching through some lessons found in Luke 15. Yesterday’s message was on “Dividing Lines.”
The main focus in the beginning of Luke 15 is the two groups of people gathered around Jesus. There are “sinners and tax collectors” and “Pharisees and teachers of the law.” Luke shows the two groups as contrasting in social and religious standing and the context of the passage shows them contrasted in heart attitude. One group is listening in anticipation to Jesus while another criticizes Jesus’ company.
No matter how we may divide life or people or society, we run a dangerous course when we begin to categorize people. We box people in, we focus on differences and we limit the concept of God’s grace. And we miss the one common trait of all humanity.
That trait very simply is the trait that without Jesus we are lost. All of humanity is lost and hopeless without Jesus. We are, as Jesus shares later in the text, lost sheep or lost coins. We are never able to find our way and we are in danger of great harm in our world.
When we begin to destroy the lines of division, we begin to see as God sees; hurting people of various backgrounds all with the same soul disease. When we blur the lines, we can focus on our common need instead of our differences. When we blur the lines in our culture, we begin to see the larger plan of God that Jesus referred to in Luke 19: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.”
No matter your background; religious or pagan, pure or prostitute, wealthy or poor, white or black we are all hopelessly lost without the saving love of the Messiah. It is time for us to destroy the lines that divide and to unite under the grace of the God who loves.