The Life of Jesus Christ - Chapter 8 - Jesus' last journey to Jerusalem - Part 5
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On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus passed through several villages and towns. There he taught and cured people. He spoke with power and authority, and said things like this:
He promised that he could free men from the power of *sin. He offered to forgive them. He offered to give them power for a new life. Everything that Jesus did showed the truth of his words. He changed the lives of many people who met him. He changed the way that they thought and behaved. It is the same today. People knew that they needed Jesus' help. They needed to know how to please God. They were not happy with the way that they lived. They understood that Jesus could give them hope and freedom instead of failure.
Crowds came to hear him (Luke 15:1). Jesus let them stay for a short time, and he taught them. But many *Pharisees, who were the leaders of the Jewish religion, did not like this (Luke 15:2). They said that a good man should not be with *sinners. Really, these *Pharisees did not believe. This happens today. Sometimes there are leaders of the Christian religion who do not really believe.
Then Jesus told three parables. [Parables are stories which have a meaning.] These parables show in a very simple way why Jesus came. We have the parables about :
· the *lost sheep. This sheep was like a *sinner who did not understand about sin. [A sinner is someone who does not obey God. He does not do what God wants.]
· the *lost coin. This coin was like a careless *sinner.
· the *lost son. This son was like a *sinner who chose to do wrong deeds.
In the last parable, Jesus spoke clearly about the proud *Pharisees.
In this parable, a man has 100 sheep, but one sheep wanders away. The shepherd [the man who looks after the sheep] then searches for the sheep. He finds it and brings it home. He is very happy, and he tells his neighbours about his joy.
Jesus said that there is great joy in *heaven when a *sinner *repents. Our God is good and kind. But he hates *sin. That is why he makes it possible for a *sinner to *repent. God will forgive that person. And God will give a new life to that person. In John 10:10 Jesus says: 'I have come to give you life. It is the best life, a perfect life.'
Many *Pharisees did not realise that God offers hope to *sinners. The *Pharisees thought that a *sinner had to obey their traditions and their religion. They thought that they were the only good people.
The next parable is about a woman who loses a coin. She looks for it very carefully, and she finds it. She then calls to her friends to be happy with her. 'In the same way', said Jesus, 'there is great happiness in *heaven when a *sinner *repents'.
The third parable is about a man who had two sons. The younger son asked his father for money. The son wanted to receive immediately the money that he would receive after the father’s death. Then the son went away into a far country. He wasted his money in bad habits and wrong behaviour.
The *lost sheep just wandered away. The *lost coin is like the careless *sinner. He does not know that he is *lost. But the *lost son decided to go away. He meant to do it.
At last, everything went wrong for this son. He had no more money to buy food. He went back to his father. He wanted to be like a servant to his father. But the father was watching for the *lost son. The father always hoped that the *lost son would come back. The father saw his son approach. So, the father ran to meet his son. The father made a great party because of the return of the *lost son.
Although this parable teaches the same lesson as the other parables, it says more about the love of the father. It tells more about how much he wanted his son to come home. This father is like God. God loves us. He wants us to *repent so that he can forgive us.
Jesus told an extra story at the end of this last parable. The father’s older son was away from the house when his brother returned. When the older brother came back, he discovered the party. Everyone was having a happy time! But he refused to join in. He even refused to say that the other son was his brother. The older son did not want to speak to his brother.
The older son's attitude was like the attitude of the *Pharisees’. In fact, Jesus told these three parables because of their bad attitude towards Jesus.
Let us emphasise the most important lesson. God is holy, and he cannot allow *sin. But he has made it possible for people to come to him. They must be humble. They must *repent. God will forgive them, and bless them. But nobody is good enough to come to God our Father. The older son tried to do this. We must be like the younger son. We must *repent. We must say what he said:
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