Mineral Wells Index
By Linda Farmer | Special to the Index
The Mineral Wells Bible Study Club met Oct. 26 at the Black Horse Restaurant with 12 members present. Jean Hensley was our hostess and lesson leader. After refreshments of several delicious desserts were served, Jean opened in prayer and then led the lesson from Luke 15.
The 15th chapter of Luke is considered a beautiful chapter and supplementary to Chapter 14. Jean says it is a classic chapter on repentance. These parables are not about eternal salvation, but about the job of a repentant person who has wandered from God’s flock and became lost in the sense of being out of touch with the Lord.
The parable of the lost sheep is the first parable which presents the question as to whether it would be wise or profitable for man to put 99 sheep at risk while searching for one sheep. In a similar way all of heaven rejoices over the repentance of one lost sinner, more than over the 99 righteous who seemingly did not repent. The assumption is that every one of the Pharisees would have responded to the loss and finding of one sheep just as Jesus suggested.
Next, we read about the parable of the lost coin. Jean tells us that at the time of Jesus, women wore 10 coins in their headdresses. The coins represent her savings and probably formed part of her dowry. Likely, being a peasant living in a house with a low doorway and few windows, she lights a lamp and diligently sweeps every dirty nook and cranny. She must have listened for the coins’ clink and watched for its gleam in the lamp light. One coin represented her day’s wages. This parable fits the reality that the Christian church lives in a world which contains more than enough darkness and moral and spiritual filth, and “is as a light that shines in a dark place.” Like the woman who searched for her coin, Jesus assures us that we are special to God. Like the one sentimental coin, we hold unique value and worth to our Father, for we are His valued possession. We can have the confidence that He will light our way.
The last parable is the parable of the lost/prodigal son. To begin with Jean gives the definition of prodigal: an adjective meaning recklessly extravagant or wasteful. This story begins in a small village in the Jordan River Valley. The young man likely was fascinated with the lights of the cities in the high mountain range. He squandered away all he had, and ends up not even getting to eat the pods he feeds the swine. However, he never lost sight of his son ship. Upon realizing this he said “how many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough to spare and I perish with hunger. I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me one of your hired servants.”
The father depicts the heart of the loving heavenly Father who longs for the return of the sinner, and willingly grants forgiveness and who rejoices in the return of the wayward. The father was overjoyed at the son’s return and ordered a celebration giving the son a robe, ring and sandals for his feet. The father appealed for his oldest son to join in the celebration, but he refuses. His reply was that he had worked hard and was given no banquet.
The problem of the oldest brother is his self-righteousness like the Pharisees, and feels that he has perfectly kept all of God’s commandments. His self-righteousness is so strong that he resents the grace of God and refuses to rejoice in it. The older brother’s works didn’t work, but the younger brother’s repentance did. Jean says this is the way God’s grace works. It is bestowed on unworthy sinners who do not trust in good works, but in God’s grace. For by grace you are saved through faith, and not of yourselves, it is a gift of God. Eph. 2: 8-9
Prayer concerns were shared and the meeting was closed with members reciting the club prayer. The next meeting ise Nov. 9 at July Myers’ home. Judy will also teach the lesson.