Now if Jesus were here I think we’d find Him today
Down at Johnny’s Cafe.
This, of course, is the punchline of the song, and the whole point of it. Get yourself down to Johnny’s Cafe because that’s where the Lord is. We were reminded yesterday that the heart of God is where the lost sheep are, not with those who are already in the fold. “There is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!” (Luke 15:7). This is the heart of God. The heart of God is with the lost — the sinners in need of a savior.
After telling the story about the lost sheep, Jesus went on to tell about a woman who had ten coins and lost one of them. She tore her house apart until she found it and when she did, she called in her friends and neighbors to help her celebrate. And Jesus equated this joy with the joy in heaven over even one lost sinner being found. Once again, God’s heart is focused on the lost.
And finally, there’s the famous story of the prodigal son whom the Father greets with open arms and a grand celebration. He was waiting for his son. He had heard he might be coming home and all his attentions were concentrated on that road up to his house. He was intent on welcoming home his lost son. He wanted to be the first to see the whites of his eyes.
Jesus told these three parables back to back to drive home what was in the heart of God. He also wanted the Pharisees to see that they were precisely not the point. The 99 sheep safely tucked away in the fold, the 9 coins in the woman’s coin purse, and the elder son, who always stayed with the Father and had access to all that was his … these are all important, but they are not the focus of the Father. The focus of the Father is on that which has been lost.
Knowing this, what should be our attitude toward the world? The lost are more important than those who have already been found. If the heart of God is focused on the lost, where should our hearts be? With the folks down at Johnny’s Cafe. The focus is not on the family; it’s on the lost.
For too long the focus of Christians has been on Christians. We’ve got a whole culture of people set aside to be a society unto ourselves. Our focus has been on making the world come to embrace our values rather than to be embracing those who need to be saved. Time to get our attention centered on the lost. Time to get our hearts in line with the Father’s heart.
“Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!” Luke 15:31-32