The Lost Sheep

Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find 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 which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Luke 15:1-7

I want to begin this article by pointing out how the Pharisees and scribes refer to Jesus. They call Him, “this man.” They are clearly trying to persuade everyone that Jesus is not Who He says He is. Jesus is not acting like what they think the Messiah or God should act like. 

By demanding God act like they wanted, the unbelieving Jews missed the Messiah and His purpose. When we “put God in a box” we expect Him to act according to what we prefer. Well…

Man’s approval or disapproval does not matter to God. He does as He pleases. And we should be very thankful for that.

Is this short parable, Jesus is declaring that He is just in seeking out those that are His even though they are wandering around in sin. Further, Jesus teaches us that there should be joy when a sinner repents from his ways and turns back to God.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we are all sinners in need of mercy and grace. Therefore, we should not be judging the behavior of others by thinking ourselves superior to them. The ninety and nine are not ones who are just and perfect. There is none righteous except Jesus (Romans 3:10). These are ones who are self-righteous like the Pharisees. That is not the group we should seek to be like!

Repentance should be a regular (and probably daily) practice in our lives. Our duty as disciples is to become more like our Jesus. Remember, we are the apprentices who need to be imitating the Master not just in knowledge of Him but by actinglike Him!

God and His church rejoice when one of His children turns back to God and follows Jesus. We should reconcile our minds to this fact and rejoice as well. 

This Sunday, gather together with your “friends and neighbors” to worship God and rejoice that He has had grace and mercy toward you and others!

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