We Rejoice Over…, Evans Olang

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Luke 15:8-10, “…Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

You may be familiar with a story reported in January 2007 of a man by the name of Wesley Autrey. He saved Cameron Hollopeter, a 19-year-old film student who had suffered seizure and fallen onto the tracks from being struck by a New York City subway train. This is what he did, as Hollopeter lay on the tracks, Autrey saw the lights of an incoming train and was moved to do something about Hollopeter who was in grave danger. As one of the women held Autrey’s daughters back away from the edge of the platform, Autrey dove onto the tracks. He thought he would be able to pull Hollopeter off the tracks right before the train got to them, but then realized there was not enough time to drag Hollopeter away from the tracks. Instead, he protected this young man by throwing himself over his body in a drainage trench between the tracks, where he held him down tight. The operator of the train applied the brakes, but two cars still passed over them, close enough to leave grease on his cap. This is how Hollopeter was saved that day.

Out of this true story, who received praises and attention, was it the saved, Hollopeter or Mr. Autrey the saver? If you search the story, you will find that Mr. Autrey became a celebrity overnight. He was showered with praises, gifts, invited to talk shows, given an award, called a hero etc.

In Luke 15, Jesus is hanging out with the tax collectors and sinners. He was drawn to these kind of people because they were the lost yet humble people He came to seek and save. Jesus takes time to give three parables, The first two parables both picture God as taking the initiative in seeking sinners. The rabbis taught that God would receive sinners who sought His forgiveness earnestly enough, but here God is the One seeking the sinner. The first parable is about a shepherd leaving 99 found sheep and goes to look for the one that was lost and in danger. Like the story above, it’s not Hollopeter who saw himself in danger, he was overcome by seizure, it’s Mr. Autrey who saw him in danger leaving his two daughters to reach and save this young man.

The second parable is the parable of the lost coin. Where it’s told of a woman having ten silver coins loses one then lights the lamp, sweeps the house and carefully looks for it until she finds it. vs. 9 And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with ME, for I have found the piece which I lost!

Let’s pen the message off second parable, vs. 10 says, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” The question is, is the repented sinner the angels are rejoicing over? Let’s look at Vs. 9 of this same chapter which tells us different, it says, “Rejoice with ME, for I have found the piece which I lost”. I see the angels rejoicing over God who has yet saved another lost soul (sinner). You can imagine the angels celebrating over God that despite His nature, He has provided away to save sinners without compromising His nature. The angels are rejoicing because God was kind enough to reach and save another lost soul from a drainage trench of sin and from His track of wrath. God takes pleasure in saving lost souls. Of all the bible reading I have done, this is the only time I hear of great celebration in heaven which is a reminder to us of how important it is.

We rejoice over the birth of Christ on Christmas day, heaven rejoices over God every time He has births a new soul into His kingdom through repentance and faith. Can we give heaven a reason to rejoice over God by seeking to save that which is lost? We share the gospel, God saves, heaven rejoices and He receives all the glory. Blessings Ev

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