Posted on Aug 29, 2019

25 August 2019

Joseph Nolan a biblical commentator claims that in all of Luke’s gospel Jesus asks only two questions. 

And those two questions are addressed to two different groups of people.

The first group of people Jesus speaks to are the

religiously upright, the ones who follow the rules,

or at least most of the rules.  The ones who believe they have a claim on heaven.

The second group of people Jesus speaks to are the religiously defunct–

the lost, the ones who think they don’t have a chance

in hell of getting to heaven.

To the first group Jesus asks: “Are you really so sure, really sure,

that you are in the Kingdom of God?”

And to the second group he asks: “Are you really so sure, really sure,

that you are not in the Kingdom of God?”

Today’s parable is not a difficult one–

except maybe our/my pride would want to make it difficult.

For most of my life I have assumed I have a reserved spot in the Kingdom.

I believe, like I think most of you believe, God is really a softy at heart

and when my time comes God will look over my record and say,

“Well George, you could have done a little better here and there,

but I’ll still give you and ‘A’.”

So, today’s parable is difficult for me to hear.

This story would be much more comforting if I thought

I was a rotten person, done most of the wrong things,

ignored every possibility for a relationship with God.

Then I could think there was still hope.

But with the story as it stands,

I have to leave here, like most of you, thinking, thinking what?

What should we make of this story?

Well, I think for sure it would be a mistake for any of us

to leave here believing it was meant for somebody else.

Perhaps a little religious insecurity isn’t all bad for us–

we know how we all let things slide,

and how we sometimes give ourselves an “A” that we

just don’t deserve.

Maybe this is an opportunity for us to examine our

assumptions about the way we live.

Maybe a little self-honesty just wouldn’t hurt us?

And then maybe when we begin to hear the parables

of the one lost sheep, and lost coin in a few weeks

we might also believe that the Lord has gone looking for us.