Luke 15:1-7, “Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”
The parable of the lost sheep. The leaving of the 99 to get the one. Defies logic but that is the point. When it comes to Jesus, His words were meant to confuse the wise and be understood by the audience that Jesus wanted to hear it. The story of the sheep was one of those stories to confuse the wise men of that day and even today, is confusing to some. Yet, to those that understand, we know the lesson. Get the lost sheep.
The Pharisees and scribes did not like Jesus. That was a known concept. They were set in their ways and thought themselves wise. They studied the law and looked for any way that they could trip Jesus up. When Jesus sat with sinners and tax collectors (thought to be scum of the Earth), the Pharisees and scribes thought Jesus was wasting His time. Jesus should have been talking with them and not the lowest of the low in their eyes. They had no idea of the priorities of Jesus. Why He came to Earth.
Jesus explains in a parable why He came to Earth. There was a shepherd with 100 sheep. These sheep would have needed to be guarded and watched like a hawk. Sheep were notorious for getting into trouble. They were defenseless against other animals like lions, bears, or other predators. They would fall off cliffs if they were not careful. They could drown if led to deep water. Sheep need keen eyes.
Now, this shepherd had one sheep get away. At that moment, the shepherd had a choice: go get the one and risk the other 99 getting hurt or let the one go and stay with the 99. The shepherd decides to go after the one in hopes that nothing happens to the rest of his flock. The chance is taken, but to the wise men listening, this would not have made sense. It would have been far more sensible to say good-bye to the one and at least have 99 others.
The shepherd finds the one. It does not say how far he travelled but he found the one. He carried it home on his shoulders and was happy. He was so happy that he called the people in his life to party because of the found sheep. Nothing apparently happened to the other 99 but the shepherd was more happy about the one than the 99. The shepherd knew the risk and it paid off because the shepherd had his 100 sheep again.
The shepherd is Jesus. The 99 sheep are those that are already saved by Jesus. The one sheep is an unbeliever that Jesus is going to get to bring into the fold of the saved. Jesus does not want any of us to get hurt or lost. We have attacks that come from predators (the world, sin, evil). We can drown in sin (addiction, lying, cheating, stealing, etc….). We can fall off cliffs (choose idols over God, deny God altogether, etc…). Jesus is there to protect us from harm. Jesus must also go and seek others that are not saved. It is our job to stay with Jesus and allow Him to protect us.
When someone is saved, all of Heaven rejoices. God is happy, the angels are happy, the saints are happy. It is not to diminish anyone else as each soul that is saved is celebrated. The 99 were not less important than the one. It was just at that time, the one was saved and that was the time for rejoicing over that soul.
The parable is quite simple if you leave logic out of it. Jesus went to the sinners and tax collectors because they needed saving. he could not save those that were already saved or did not want to be saved. The ones already saved were His and the wise people of the time trusted their own wisdom of the law to save them. They rejected Jesus as salvation. Just like a doctor is there to heal sick people, Jesus is there to heal the unsaved. To renew their soul to Him. Jesus will go to the ones that call out to Him. He will come to you if you call out to Him. Call out to the name of Jesus today. He is waiting for your call.
Let us give thanks that You are there for us. When we call, You answer. We do not need to fear when You are near. You are there to hold us, care for us, and protect us. Let us also be thankful that You are a merciful God who brings people back to Himself. We do sin. We go astray. You do not leave us to wander alone aimlessly. You go and get us. You save us from ourselves. Thank You that You do that. You truly are an awesome God.
In Your name we pray,