Throughout our Easter series, our Thursday blog posts will focus on two seemingly discordant themes: suffering and joy. We’ll look to the examples of Jesus and the early church as well as exhortations from the authors of the New Testament epistles to see how the juxtaposition of these qualities characterize those who follow Jesus.
“Then Jesus told them this parable: ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep (Luke 15:3-5).’”
In Luke 15, we find three parables about three lost things: a sheep, a coin, and a son. In all three situations, something is lost, the owner seeks it out, and then once it is found, he is overjoyed. Upon its recovery, each person is so happy, he or she calls their neighbors to celebrate with them about it.
As we reflect upon Jesus’ sacrifice this week, we must keep his mission—as portrayed in these parables—in clear view. He came to seek and save the lost. Jesus did not suffer needlessly or without purpose. He came to earth because the world was lost. He endured the suffering of the cross to seek after us, although we had wandered away. He experienced death so we could be found. Our recovery required the greatest sacrifice, but it results in the abounding joy of our Father.
Take a moment to reflect
How does it change your self-perception to know that God was overjoyed by your return to Him?
Who do you know that is lost and needing to be found by Jesus? Take a moment to pray for them now.