So He told them this parable: “What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it?”
The scope of God’s grace is far greater than you or I currently understand. The Pharisees found that out in Luke 15. The tax collectors and those the pharisees called sinners found out as well. It was clear to most Jewish people from the Old testament that God showed no pleasure in the death and separation of sinners and that, in fact, He had far greater joy in their repentance and return. He not only was excited about their return, but He wanted to entertain and party with them about their return! The religious leaders were mumbling and complaining about the encounters that Jesus was having with sinners. The very people the pharisees should be helping are the ones they complained about. Jesus shatters their worldview. He reveals that God is not inconvenienced by sinners, but rather it is His mission as a great shepherd to seek out the one.
We as humans tend to give up on other humans. Perhaps we do this because we have given up on ourselves. We have become good at pretending that we haven’t, but we disguise our despair with success, pride, popularity and other such things. But in our hearts we have resorted to the fact that our lives are beyond saving and that we may as well just make the most of our being lost.
What is most powerful about these parables?
These three parables have some wonderful revelation and clear messaging, but what stands out is that each story is about ‘one’. One sheep, one coin, one son. Perhaps the immensity of God’s grace is not seen in the number of people who have responded, although that is both wonderful and powerful, but rather it is seen in the heart of God towards just one human coming back into relationship with Him. A sheep is found by a shepherd. A coin is found by a woman. A son comes home to a Father. The characters change, but the story is the same. All of heaven rejoices when one sinner is restored into relationship with God. You are that one. I am that one. And He treats each one with the same intensity and love and grace.
// Pastor Josh Kelsey