Rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents.
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than ninety-nine just persons, which need no repentance. Luke 15:7.
The bible tells us much about angels. It gives us different categories of angels and describes how they look, how they fly, what they do in the presence of God, their role in the earth today, and much more.
But today I want us to see the one unique thing that causes angles in heaven to erupt in joy.
With all the information about angels recorded in the bible, there are only two verses, a total of 49 words in the King James version that implicitly describe an event that causes angels to stop what they are doing and throw a celebration that is different from those they regularly experience in the wonderful atmosphere of heaven. Both of these references are found in Luke 15, where Jesus gives the parable of a shepherd who found one of his sheep that had been lost.
In Luke 15:4-6 Jesus said, what man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, doeth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he finds it. And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, rejoice with me for I have found my sheep that was lost.
The early church believed this parable was a reference to Jesus Himself. Jesus left heaven and like the shepherd in the parable came to earth to seek and to save that which was lost. The early Christian of the first centuries were so convinced this parable was about Jesus that they often used the image of a shepherd carrying a lamb across his shoulders as the graphic to depict Him. In ancient catacombs in Rome where early Christians once gathered to worship and pray, painted images of a shepherd carrying a lamb representing Jesus are still visible on the walls.
According to the parable, if we believe that it represents Jesus, as the Early Church believed, when Jesus returned to heaven, He invited all of heaven to rejoice with Him because man, once lost, was now redeemed. From Jesus’ words in his parable we assume that when He crossed the threshold of heaven, He called out to the heavenly inhabitants and told them, Rejoice with Me, for I have found my sheep that was lost (see Luke 15:6)
The finding of lost sheep was such a cause for rejoicing that Jesus called for all of heaven to celebrate with Him, just think how serious a man’s lost condition must be in order for Jesus to see it as a time to stop and throw a party whenever a sinner repents.
Jesus comprehends the great cost of a person’s redemption, for He paid for each soul with His own precious blood. So, when a sinner repents, Jesus sees this a time for heaven to celebrate. He calls on all of heaven’s inhabitants to celebrate every time a sinner is saved. Consider the profound miracle that transpires when a soul doomed to eternal destruction is redeemed by the blood of the lamb. Its no wonder that Jesus wants all of heaven to join with Him in throwing a celebration.
Luke 15:10 tells us……There is a joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Why is this a cause of rejoicing? Because when a man is saved, his sins are removed, and he is washed in the blood of Jesus, in that moment his nature is changed and his name is written in the Lambs book of life. That is an event that entire spirit realm recognizes, including mighty angels who stand in the very presence of God. They get so excited when this mightiest miracle of all takes place in the life of a human that they stop everything to take note of it and to celebrate.
I don’t know about you, but I am personally convicted by the lack of the excitement I see in the church when a sinner gets saved. People yawn and cover their mouth, as if it is just a routine activity, when in fact it is the greatest miracle that can occur on planet earth. It is worth our shouting, yelling, and jumping up and down in joy, for there is no greater miracle than the new birth.
Angels live in the breath-taking presence of God and regularly see His wonders that are beyond our imagination. Yet they are so thrilled about a person who repents that they rejoice with great joy.
Maybe its time for us to revisit the subject of our salvation and relearn what great a miracle it is when a lost man is redeemed and quickened to spiritual life by the Holy Spirit. Since angels get excited about this, isn’t it time that we start appreciating it too?
I pray that your understanding has increased and that Luke 15 has affected you in a meaningful way. Don’t let the devil steal these truths from your heart. Rejoice greatly with heaven the next time you witness someone repenting and becoming a new creation in Christ.
Love Pastor Cindy