“Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were very critical of Jesus association with those whom they deemed to be sinners. Their regulations laid down that they were to have no dealings with such people. In fact, according to William Barclay, the strict Jews had the view that ‘there will be joy in heaven over one sinner who is obliterated before God.’
Jesus view was diametrically opposed to this – and in fact He would teach that
“the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
This is borne out in the parable where Jesus shows that He will track down the lost – seeking to find them and to bring them safely back to their home and relationship with God. And, in each case, He tells us there will be great ‘rejoicing in heaven.’ This gives us another indication of just how special we are to God! This Jesus is with us always through the Holy Spirit and, if we do go astray, will come after us to find and recover us.
This then also tells us something of what our own attitude should be to those around us. For we are surrounded by people, so many of whom are lost in terms of their relationship with God and drifting further and further away. They may be alive to the world but they are actually dead to God. Our calling also, in terms of the Great Commission, to seek and to save what is lost.
Ask God to show you whom He is pointing you towards. Start by praying for them each day – praying that God will touch them in a way that will open them to Him.
Lord God thank You so much that You tracked me down and saved me. Please help me to be a part of Your reaching out to those around me – and show me who it is for whom I should pray. Amen.