Luke 15: 1-7
Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathered around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
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 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.
Most Pharisees and the teachers of the law were concerned about their appearance of holiness filled with religious rules and traditions rather than helping people. Jesus was more concerned for the “sinners”, the lost, the sick and the poor. A parable is a way Jesus spoke to tell a heavenly truth in a manner people could understand by using things familiar to them. The Pharisees understood that they were included in the promises that had been given to Abraham–that they were a part of the family of promise, but now they must understand that through Christ Jesus salvation is available for all to be brought back to God. Jesus knew that the ninety-nine sheep would be safe together, but the one lost was in danger of losing its life. When the lost one is found (whether sheep or a sinner) there is much rejoicing.
Father help us to be concerned for the lost, willing to leave the ninety-nine for the life of one with no respect of persons. When the lost are found, help us to rejoice, to carry, to encourage and build them up in your word. We love you, in Jesus’ name, amen.