68 Invitation to joy

Luke 15:1-10
Isaiah 63:16-17
T The justice of Jesus

"Now all the tax-gatherers and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him." (1) It would be one scene of the time while they are going north around towns and villages of the Perea district. It seems that Jesus stayed in one house during a few days always in spots, and visited a nearby town and village from there. A large number of people came over to the house and heard the story of Jesus. Many tax-gatherers and sinners who turn out to be it at a glance have been mixed in the people. There is not the conspicuous mark, but it is a town in the county. It may not be hidden. They were the people shut out of the worship of a Jewish synagogue recognized as a Jewish citizen. Jesus seemed to accept them for granted, as well as His former patrol. The rumor spread out in a moment all over Perea, and people who avoided usually appearing in the public place came to the house where Jesus stayed, without hesitating about the public eye.

Pharisees and Sophers to see that scene muttered. "This man receives sinners and eats with them." (2) It was natural that they said so. People who was put on the label as sinners, as people bringing evil in normal Jewry, became a target of the social ostracism; and in order to protect the Jewish community, Pharisees were standing at the top. It was them that put the label as the sinners and declared the comings and goings prohibition to synagogue, and have shut such people out of Jewry society. They wanted to protect justice of God. Because the Jewry society was a place to embody justice of God as the chosen people, they thought that it was their responsibility and duty to remove people who does not deserve it. As for Jesus, the notification of the dangerous person came from elders of Jerusalem; but because they felt He is a quite good person when they met, would they have felt He is deserved to treat as "Rabbi"? Because such Jesus took such action against their duties, they would want to mutter.


U Looking for a lost sheep

Therefore, Jesus spoke three parable to them. The third allegory is the famous "prodigal son", but because it is slightly long, I want to treat it the next time.

At first, it is from the first parable. "What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'" (4-6)

It is clear that the geographical situation of Perea is not suitable for the pasturage of the sheep by the situation that I mentioned before; but still probably, it will be thought that a person who owns 100 sheep, he will be an influential person (rich person) among Pharisees. This parable seems to reflect such a reality. Those who were entrusted with their sheep and go out to pasture were poor professional shepherds. I have seen several times such a scene that professional shepherds were guiding the group of sheep with a long stick skillfully, in Israel. They are really stately, and even if a car comes, but they stop a car not to surprise sheep. The sheep are derived by his stick and will be reliable. Those are obedient to instruction. Will this be because there is such a relationship of mutual trust? Even if the sheep which became missing is only one of them, they turn pale and look for it as a professional. Because a sheep is a coward animal, there is a habit to share an action consistently in a group, but because sheep is absorbedly to eat grass, it seems to have possibilities to get separated. The area of the Jordanian ravine had the many rivers which flowed from the highlands of Perea, and it was a great terrain for stray sheep.

Because they were professional, would they have looked for the place where a sheep would be lost and be depressed chiefly? The joy when he found it at last, it was such a thing, he called friends and neighbors and said "Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!". Will it superimpose Jesus on this poor shepherd? The sheep which disappeared is "sinners"; it is the soul separated from God distantly. And here, I feel the question, "Share the joy that the soul has been found!", to Pharisee.


V Invitation to joy

Another parable, it is a parable of "The lost silver coin". "Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!'" (8-9) This is similar full with the first parable "the lost sheep", but it only has changed the sheep to the silver coin, and will it only emphasize the same instruction? If it is so, it is not necessary to take out a silver coin especially, I think. I want to think about this silver coin a little. Silver coin, this will be the shekel silver coins which are used to put in the shrine (stater silver coin / Matthew 17:27). It is approximately 4 drachmas (Greece currency), it is 1,000 yen in Japanese yen by simple conversion. However, if the quadrant copper coin was a scale of 1 yen unit by a then folklife, it seems that the silver coin has value more than 1,000 times of it. It seemed that 1 drachma was a price of one sheep; then, in this present age, how much will be the price of four sheep? It will do hundreds of thousands of yen at least. If we think so, it may be said that this woman owning ten pieces of silver coins is a rich person on a third dimension.

Using such a silver coin, what would Jesus be trying to tell us? One piece of lost silver coin points at the soul of the sinner who lost sight of God like the sheep. It shows a strong interest of Jesus for "repentance of the sinner" more valuable than a sheep, and it seems to tell us the voltage is going up all the more, as a message to Pharisee. And in Matthew, there is not the parable of the silver coin, in the parable of lost sheep, but, Luke adds this original article, and talks about "the salvation of a lost soul"; we may hear this is a message of Luke. I have explained it before, this silver coin was a shekel silver coin. Surely, in the Jewish sense, it is so; but, in fact, this text of Greek uses the "drachm" of Greece currency. Would Luke have assumed that a reader of this Gospel was people who spoke Greek mainly? And a woman looking for a lost silver coin hard is none other than Jesus; but Luke has expressly put "a woman" to here, as well as 13:20. Because sense of incongruity about the position of the woman in the Greece Rome world was not among Luke, it is thought that a woman occupied the big position, at the foreigner church which is his biggest interest.

Now, to these two parables, the same conclusion is added, "I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." (7) "In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (10) Therefore, "So, become a person sharing that joy!", it was the advice to a Pharisee, but we also modern must hear that we have been invited to there. As well as our soul, we want to turn attention to other souls.


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