Sunday, September 8, 2019

Proper 19 C

Proper 19 C
(September 11-17)

Ezekiel 34:11–24
1 Timothy 1:(5–11) 12–17
Luke 15:1–10

Jesus Christ Is the Good Shepherd of His Sheep

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). As He had mercy on Paul in order to “display his perfect patience” (1 Timothy 1:16), so also does He seek out His sheep “from all the places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness” (Ezekiel 34:12). To deliver His flock, He “will seek the lost … bring back the strayed … bind up the injured, and … strengthen the weak” (Ezekiel 34:16), and “they shall no longer be a prey” (Ezekiel 34:22). He sets over them one great Good Shepherd, the Son of David, who “shall feed them and be their shepherd” (Ezekiel 34:23). For Christ Jesus is the one man who, “having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them” would “leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it” (Luke 15:4). When He finds the lost one and brings it home rejoicing, “the angels of God” and all the company of heaven rejoice with Him, with great joy (Luke 15:7, 10).

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

Rev. Dr. Daniel J Brege

The accusation was leveled against Jesus:  “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:1). What the Pharisees meant by this accusation was that Jesus was eating with those who were identified as public sinners—e.g. tax collectors and harlots. To eat with someone was to demonstrate fellowship with that person. How could Jesus display eating-fellowship with such public sinners, thus apparently condoning their sin?  Of course—as Scripture explains that all have sinned—every time Jesus eats with people He is eating with sinners.

As one considers the fifteenth chapter of Luke one realizes that an appropriate title for the entire chapter is Repentance.  Thus at the close of His first parable Jesus explains, “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”  Similarly in explaining the parable of the lost coin Jesus summarizes:  “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  The remainder of the chapter also deals with repentance, as it concludes with the parable of The Prodigal Son.

So when Jesus “ate with sinners” He was not condoning sin, but He who could read the heart was dining with those whom He knew to be penitent sinners.  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Ps. 51:17).

Now Jesus, the sin offering for mankind, has given to His Church the ultimate meal relating to repentance and forgiveness—the Sacrament of the Altar.  Though we correctly magnify the reality that in this meal sinners are eating the very body and blood of Christ given and shed at the cross for the forgiveness of sins, yet the early church—more so than today—magnified the fact that Christ at this Supper was/is also dining with His people.   Jesus had promised not to eat or drink until there would be fulfillment in the kingdom (Luke 22:16-18).  Christ’s death, resurrection and the pouring forth of the Spirit at Pentecost, marked the fulfillment in the kingdom. Now whenever God’s kingdom comes through Holy Communion it is apparent from Jesus’ own words that He is drinking the fruit of the vine and eating the “Passover” with His disciples.  He is both the Supper’s host and its food.

It may seem strange that while Christians eat and drink of Christ’s body and blood in the Lord’s Supper He is there dining with them.  Such mysteries in Holy Communion parallel the very mysteries of the person and work of Jesus.  Consider that He is both the Priest and the sacrifice, both the Shepherd and the lamb, and both God and man.  In His Blessed Sacrament we miraculously yet truly eat the body and blood of the crucified One, and yet the risen One now dines with His people as surely as He did during those forty days after His resurrection. The Sacrament of the Altar stands as a perpetual reminder of these foundational gospel-mysteries. Truly the Lord Jesus gives to us a sort of double fellowship in the Lord’s Supper.  Penitents fellowship with Him as they eat His body and blood given and shed at the cross, and they fellowship with Him as He yet chooses to “receive sinners and eat with them.”

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Ἦσαν δὲ αὐτῷ ἐγγίζοντες πάντες οἱ τελῶναι καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἀκούειν αὐτοῦ.
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 

καὶ διεγόγγυζον οἵ τε Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς λέγοντες ὅτι Οὗτος ἁμαρτωλοὺς προσδέχεται καὶ συνεσθίει αὐτοῖς.
And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

 εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην λέγων
So he told them this parable: 

Τίς ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ὑμῶν ἔχων ἑκατὸν πρόβατα καὶ ἀπολέσας ἐξ αὐτῶν ἓν οὐ καταλείπει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ καὶ πορεύεται ἐπὶ τὸ ἀπολωλὸς ἕως εὕρῃ αὐτό;
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 

καὶ εὑρὼν ἐπιτίθησιν ἐπὶ τοὺς ὤμους αὐτοῦ χαίρων,
And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 

 καὶ ἐλθὼν εἰς τὸν οἶκον συγκαλεῖ τοὺς φίλους καὶ τοὺς γείτονας, λέγων αὐτοῖς• Συγχάρητέ μοι ὅτι εὗρον τὸ πρόβατόν μου τὸ ἀπολωλός.
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 that was lost.’ 

λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οὕτως χαρὰ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἔσται ἐπὶ ἑνὶ ἁμαρτωλῷ μετανοοῦντι ἢ ἐπὶ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα δικαίοις οἵτινες οὐ χρείαν ἔχουσιν μετανοίας.
Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

The Parable of the Lost Coin
Ἢ τίς γυνὴ δραχμὰς ἔχουσα δέκα, ἐὰν ἀπολέσῃ δραχμὴν μίαν, οὐχὶ ἅπτει λύχνον καὶ σαροῖ τὴν οἰκίαν καὶ ζητεῖ ἐπιμελῶς ἕως οὗ εὕρῃ;
“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 

- δραχμὴν Greek ten drachmas; a drachma was a Greek coin approximately equal in value to a Roman denarius, worth about a day's wage for a laborer

καὶ εὑροῦσα συγκαλεῖ τὰς φίλας καὶ γείτονας λέγουσα• Συγχάρητέ μοι ὅτι εὗρον τὴν δραχμὴν ἣν ἀπώλεσα.
And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 

οὕτως, λέγω ὑμῖν, γίνεται χαρὰ ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀγγέλων τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπὶ ἑνὶ ἁμαρτωλῷ μετανοοῦντι.
Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”


ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software

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