In my recent Bible readings in the One-Year Bible, the parables of Jesus from Luke have been the focus in the New Testament segments. Jesus used parables, earthly stories with heavenly meaning, to convey to his audience truths. He used everyday situations and objects to help the people understand the things of the kingdom and of God.
The parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15 is a great example. We first see the set-up or the setting in which Jesus used this story. Several tax collectors and sinners had gathered around Jesus. The Pharisees and teachers of the law criticized Jesus for associating with such people.
This criticism prompts Jesus to tell his parable about the lost sheep. He uses something common that the people would be familiar with - sheep. Jesus sets the stage by saying, "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?"
I can just picture those people relating to the scenario and nodding their heads. They had surely had this happen to them or to someone they know.
Then Jesus continues the story. He states that when that person finds that lost sheep, he is happy. He is so overjoyed that he calls his friends and neighbors and tells them to be happy with him.
Jesus delivers the point of the story by saying, "I tell you 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."
Just to get the point across more fully, Jesus tells the parable of the lost coin and the lost son. In another part of Scripture, Jesus says that He came for the sick not the well people.
In these parables Jesus is showing the people and us that God is in the reconciling business. God loves us so much, He will search for us. God did the ultimate act of reconciliation when He sent Jesus to die for us.
Think about it. This parable of the lost sheep illustrates that God will pursue one out of the hundred. He could say, "I have most of my lambs. Ninety-nine - that's only one. No need to waste time to look for just one."
But, He doesn't say this. He basically says, "I can't stand to leave one lost. I will search until I find that little lamb and we are reconciled. I'll do whatever it takes for that one."
Dear friends, God loves you that much. He doesn't want anyone to perish, lost without reconciling.
If you haven't accepted Christ, thus being reconciled to God, consider doing that today.
If you have accepted Christ and are a part of the flock, consider again the love of your Good Shepherd. Just think - the day you were found (saved) all of heaven rejoiced! Your reconciliation to the Father just might be cause for a little praise-party and some thankfulness raised to God.