Searching for Sinners
"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 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."
What a bad lesson on successful sheep ranching - leaving an entire flock to search for one lost sheep is a sure way to lose ninety-nine more. But who cares? The shepherd certainly didn't! Yes, he loved the ninety-nine, but his heart was with the lost one. After searching high and low, he finally found the sheep and carried it home. He called his friends so they could rejoice with him. The lost had been found!
Most people can understand a God who forgives sinners who crawl to Him and beg for mercy. People can relate to a gruff God who makes sinners grovel in the dirt and plead for forgiveness. A God like that, we can understand.
But a God who actually runs to search for sinners in order to forgive them? A God who seeks out rebels in order to save them? A God who would lay down His life for His enemies? Little wonder we stand amazed at the love of Jesus!
That our Good Shepherd leaves His large flock so that He will not lose one sinner shows the abundance of His care. And that He would carry the lost one on His shoulders, once he was found, shows the abundance of His tenderness.
O Lord, this parable shows me how much You care for the lost ones I love. Thank you, Shepherd!