Isaiah 53:6 says, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him (Jesus Christ) the iniquity of us all."
This week, Michael writes the in Luke 15:1-7 Jesus told a story about sheep: “Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 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.”
Jesus was speaking to two groups of people. The first group is the tax collectors and the sinners. These people were despised and rejected by the "politically correct" culture. The second group is the Scribes and the Pharisees. These were the respected people of their culture. Jesus spent time and even ate with the publicans and the sinners, the outcasts of the normal mainstream of society. Zacchaeus was the chief tax gatherer with whom Jesus shared a meal. Jesus ministered to a woman caught in the act of adultery, when he said to the crowd who was about to stone her, "he who is without sin may cast the first stone." Jesus met with a Samaritan outcast woman at Solomon’s well. The Jews hated the Samaritans, whom they considered half-breeds and second class citizens. However, Jesus said to her, "whoever drinks of the living water shall never thirst."
The Pharisees said that Jesus is "soft on sin." The sinners he associated with would never be welcomed in their proper houses of worship. Jesus played a game of "hide and seek" with the Pharisees and the leaders of the church. The one who hides calls the shots. The seeker puts themselves in the humble position of finding the one who is trying to evade him. The one who seeks is "it." This is a position of humility and lowliness. The goal of hide and seek is to avoid being "it." At the end of the game, "it" says, "Ollie Ollie Oxen Free, if you don't come it you'll be." This means that it's safe to come home. This is a cry of grace to those who were hiding.
The story of the lost sheep is a story of hide and seek. Jesus himself is "it" looking for those who are hiding. Some churches are "seeker sensitive." Seeker sensitive churches are focused on the human perspective. People are restless until they find their place in God. No one is satisfied without God. God created mankind to seek transcendence. When the seeker comes to the Lord, the irony is that the seeker wasn't really seeking the Lord, rather the Lord was seeking them. Who is the one who hides from God? It's the person who is running from the truth. This is the man who seeks the pleasures of the flesh or the woman who is angry because her life is closing in on her. Hiding from God looks like apathy and moral laxity.
Let's continue Michael's message about "hide and seek" on the next post.
In Christ, Brian