Just as 1 Corinthians 13 is referred to as the “Love Chapter” of the Bible, why isn’t Luke 15 called the “Joy Chapter” of the Bible? What is Luke 15 about? Would you answer that it is about the lost being found? That would be correct, but if you answered this question based upon the emphasis through repeated content, the answer would have to be slightly different. Luke 15 is a chapter about the joy experienced when the lost is found. In this parable Jesus tells three stories. Proof in Story One: The story of the one sheep straying from the other 99 is told in 1.5 verses. The rejoicing fills 2.5 verses. Nearly twice the time is spent on the rejoicing. First the shepherd rejoices as he lays the sheep on his shoulders. Then he calls friends and neighbors to rejoice. Then Jesus summarizes the whole story in verse seven. He doesn’t describe the search, the lost one, or the shepherd. Jesus describes the joy in heaven when the lost sinner repents. Proof in Story Two: The story of the woman searching for the lost coin is told in one verse. Twice as many verses describe the rejoicing. Verse nine describes her calling her friends and neighbors to rejoice with her and verse 10 gives a similar summary as the previous story. Verse 10 describes the joy experienced by the angels in the presence of God because the sinner repents. Proof in Story Three: Story three is much longer and is often considered one of the most beautiful short stories ever written. Each phrase is like a stroke of a great artist painting joy in the Father’s house. For nine verses the son’s prodigal life is described. The next five verses describe the Father’s reaction as he returned. In a word it was joy. The older son wasn’t happy (no joy) about the Father’s joy or the brother’s return. The last verse of the chapter summarized the Father and elder brother’s discussion. It also summarized the story. It also summarized the parable of all three stories. “It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.” What should bring real joy into your life? Grow a heart which longs so much for the lost to come home that when they do, your joy resembles the joy in Heaven. I wonder how often Paul thought of Jesus’ parable when he made statements such as, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.” ( 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20) An elder brother type or Father type? Just see what makes you happy and you will know which you are. Let’s do right. (vr 32).
–David Shannon; MtJuliet.org