Scripture: Luke 15:-7
Jesus says, “Which one of you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and goes after the one who is lost until he finds it. When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
Having had a little experience with sheep, I am certain that I would go looking for the one sheep of the hundred who had gone astray. I am also equally certain that I would be reluctant to leave those ninety-nine sheep in the wilderness without another person looking after them or penning them up in some way. Sheep have a mind of their own and they can bolt in a minute. But this parable is about more than one wooly four-legged creature that bleats.
Jesus is addressing tax collectors and sinners and He has caught their interest. Pharisees and scribes are also in the audience and they are grumbling because Jesus welcomes them when according to their interpretation of The Law He rightfully should be shunning them and avoiding all contact and communication with them. So Jesus tells this parable of The Lost Sheep.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus affirmed how much God cares for His creation by pointing to the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. The Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine sheep in search of the lost sheep is symbolic for God and His love for that one sheep. For those who lack the ability to find God; God seeks them. The Shepherd is relentless and tireless in His pursuit. And then the Shepherd finds the lost sheep … lays it on His shoulders and brings it home, a very poignant picture of how much God cares
Once home, the shepherd calls his friends and neighbors to rejoice with him upon his finding of the sheep that was lost. For the benefit of the tax collectors and the sinners as well as the Pharisees and the scribes, Jesus concludes: “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” The lost includes those who know they are lost because of their misdeeds and are in need of being found as well as those who are lost and don’t know it, as were the Pharisees and the scribes, who saw themselves as righteous. God seeks both!
Dear God, we thank You that You love and care for all of Your sheep and demonstrate a special love for “the lost” Thank You for continuing to pursue “the lost” so that the entire flock may be together once again. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.