“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he 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 neighbors 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.”
Who doesn’t love a good party? Parties are a wonderful way to celebrate an achievement. The purpose of a party is to gather people, share an experience and build a memory. However, it must be noted that the reason or the “why” people are gathering gives the party its significance. For example, a birthday party is different from a graduation party. Both are parties, but they have different significance.
In Luke 15:7, Jesus references a party that happens in Heaven. He said, “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 significance of this party is for a person who has decided to make a change and turn from sinfulness in their life. Jesus shows that the host of Heaven places a high value on that. How did Jesus get to the point of describing this party in Heaven?
Jesus told the parable of a shepherd who loses one sheep out of 100. He goes on a search to find this lost sheep. Jesus asks, “Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” (Luke 15:4) Jesus is highlighting the fact that the shepherd wants all of the sheep to be accounted for. The shepherd prepared to go to great lengths to find one sheep. The search for this single sheep doesn’t mean the ninety-nine are not important, but the shepherd cares deeply for the lost one.
A few months ago, our South Barrington Next Steps team visited a farm. We were guided by actual shepherds and observed the sheep they cared for. I learned that sheep literally flock together and run as a group. They seem to care deeply for each other. Therefore, when the shepherd brings that lost sheep back to the fold, I could see the other sheep welcoming the lost sheep back, as well.
If you are a Jesus follower, you are just like a sheep following a Good Shepherd. There have been times when we stray, and Jesus, as our Good Shepherd, has to bring us back to the fold. We are restored by Jesus, but it is also our fellow sheep who huddle around us and welcome us back. We should be mindful to always welcome “lost sheep” whom Our Good Shepherd brings back.
- Read Luke 15 in its entirety. Observe the parables of the Lost Sheep, Lost Coin and the Lost Son. Ponder this question: What did I learn about how Jesus taught about being lost? Journal your thoughts or answers
- Pray for “the one.” This year our church has been praying “for the one and for the world.” Your “one” is that person who you know is far from God and you desire to see them come into relationship with Jesus. Ask God’s Holy Spirit to continue to work on their hearts so they can come to know Jesus.