Sometimes the greatest barrier to fellowship with God is not the bad things we do but the good. Not our acts of outright rebellion, but the otherwise good things we do for our own benefit and glory. In Jesus’ parable, the older brother was just as lost as the younger brother even though he had never left home. His pride in his good works had distanced him from his father and made him believe he was without sin. But God offers grace even to older brothers like us through the merit of our Great Older Brother, Jesus Christ.
Though the end of Luke 15 is typically referred to as the parable of the lost son, the main emphasis is on the grace of the merciful father. The one sinned against bears the cost and shame of his child’s disobedience so that he may receive him back in love. So, too, God the Father welcomes back lost sinners through Jesus’ atoning work on the cross, rejoicing to bring the dead to life.
Lost things never find themselves. They must be found by one who is looking for them. The same is true for people lost in sin; we must be found by the Living God. In Luke 15, Jesus seeks us in our lost estate, rejoices to find us, and then calls us to rejoice with Him as we seek others in His Name so that they, too, might know the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
In our last sermon we saw Paul’s passion and purpose to see the Colossian believers become mature in Christ. In this next section we see that Paul’s passion and purpose leads to a problem: the Colossian church is in crisis mode because of deceitful false teachers, and Paul is doing damage control from a distance, but his purpose is to see that they know Christ and are protected against subtle and enticing philosophical heresies.