There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. —Luke 15:7
Martie and I recently traveled to some major cities in several countries. We were struck with how lost our world is and grieved over the millions who have never heard the message of the saving grace of Jesus. The thought of reaching our world for Christ felt overwhelming.
Until I remembered the story of the boy walking on a beach. Encountering hundreds of starfish dying under the heat of the burning sun, he started throwing them back into the sea. A passerby asked, “What are you doing?” “Saving their lives,” the boy replied. “Forget it,” the man said. “You can’t possibly save all these starfish.” “Right,” replied the boy, “but it makes a big difference to each one I do save.”
I love the boy’s perspective. When the wave of sin threw us onto the shore to die, God sent His Son to walk on the beach to rescue all who would repent. And, as Jesus told His listeners in Luke 15, each time someone is rescued, heaven throws a party. “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7).
Has heaven rejoiced over your rescue? If so, join the ranks of those who reach other lost souls with the rescuing grace of Jesus.
Your love, O God, would spare no pain
To conquer death and win;
You sent Your only Son to die
To rescue us from sin. —M. Gustafson
When you’ve been rescued, you’ll want to rescue others.
How does the fact that Jesus wept affect your view of Him and His love for you? What will you do to bring honor and glory to Him this week?
It happens often at weddings. The mother of the bride can be seen quietly sobbing. Her tears are a fitting response to the coming of age of her daughter and the memories of the years she had nutured her.
The Jews were celebrating the coming of their long-awaited king (Luke 19:35-38). Yet Jesus was weeping, the second time He had wept openly. At the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus wept (John 11:35). Here He was crying audibly (Luke 19:41).
But why? His people had rejected Him. They sought political freedom. But Jesus came to deliver them from their sins and to offer them peace with God by way of the cross—not the crown.
Jesus looked at their past. God had raised many prophets, calling His people to repent. But they had killed the prophets (Luke 11:48, Luke 13:34). Jesus looked at thepresent religiosity and piety that had accomplished little. The city was filled with pilgrims commemorating a sacred festival, but it was empty worship. Their temple had become a den of thieves (Luke 19:46). Jesus looked at the future. He saw the death, destruction, and devastation that would come to the people and city (Luke 19:43-44).
The Lord had lovingly and persistently pursued them, but they “were not willing!” (Luke 13:34 NIV). Jesus wept because His own people had rejected Him as their Messiah (Luke 19:14; John 1:11). Israel had wasted and exhausted her opportunities. “Now it [was] too late” (Luke 19:42). “Because [they] did not accept [their] opportunity for salvation” (Luke 19:44), only the fearful prospect of judgment was in view. Forty years later, the Romans came and destroyed Jerusalem and the temple.
Jesus weeps for you if you haven’t received His free gift of salvation. But it’s not too late!