Scripture: Luke 15:Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 So he told them this parable: 4 “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Observation: According to the Mosaic law, righteous persons were not to hang out with sinners. Jesus turns that pattern on its head. Not only does he tolerate them, he actually pursues them, welcomes them. And when a lost sheep is found all of heaven rejoices. I cannot overstate what a departure this was from the cultural norm.
Application: When I read passages like this I tend to understand myself as one of the ninety-nine who are found, not the one who is lost. But the truth is I get lost. I stumble around as if I’m a spiritual orphan rather than a child of the living God. Mostly this happens because I have a rebellious streak. I want to do things my way. And yet, when I’m lost and wandering, the Lord comes to find me. To save me from myself, from my sin, from death and the devil.
Prayer: You are so good to me Lord. When I wander you come look for me. You take hold of me and restore me as your own. I can never thank you enough. Amen.