OUTREACH

The Compassionate Shepherd

ADVENTURES IN THE PARABLES lost sheepMy people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold. Jeremiah 50:6

There were folks in the religious hierarchy that loved to confront Jesus. Their idea of the Word was corrupted by man-made traditions and practices that had manipulated God’s Word for their purposes and not God’s. Often, they confronted Jesus trying to get Him to slip up and say something that would condemn Him. No matter how they tried they were the ones getting the lesson and were confronted with their own mistakes and misgivings. They were the ones who were lost. Not just those in the hierarchy but all Israel was lost and Jesus even told them as, He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24). 

Bringing The Lost Sheep Home

His compassion was first for the chosen people of the Father to bring them home again. We know that this was going to be very hard especially since the people wanted earthly freedom from their oppressors and evidently were not really concerned with spiritual things. But God beats all odds and can get right to the heart.

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 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. Luke 15:3-7

Jesus, the Great Shepherd, gives this account of searching, saving, and rejoicing. Even more, we can clearly see a picture of salvation in these verses that we do not want to miss today. Even though this was meant for the People Israel, we can clearly see the redemption and salvation that God gives by His Grace and Mercy through putting everything else aside, sacrificing the safety of the rest just to find and rescue one. Jesus lifts us up so we do not have to tread in the waters or the thorns of the world alone. All heaven rejoices even when just one comes to know the Lord and returns home.

The Heart Condition

We are lost to God because of sin. He knows the lost condition of humanity and of our hearts which were given in to sin. But you see, God sent Jesus to rescue and redeem us, to discover and help us choose to repent and change the condition of our heart. All of God’s children are precious to Him, yes even the hardened sinner. We are loved so much. He professed His love in John 3:16, then Paul reminds us how He showed His Love in Romans 5:6-8.

We Are Valued

Like I said, we are precious to Him. Luke 19:10 states, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Brothers and Sisters, we are not something that is created and left to rot. We are created to love and care for one another just as He loves us. He loves us so much that He died as the final blood sacrifice. The innocent given to replace us for our sins. Our value is found in every drop of the Saviors blood which was shed so we could live.

At What Cost

The last line in the Parable speaks volumes on what is needed from us. 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. Yes we are saved by Grace but there is still certain obligations. These obligations have not changed since Abraham. Better yet, these obligations have not changed since Abel. We are obligated to Keep His Word on our hearts because our strength comes from His Word. We must repent and not return to our sinful, worldly ways. God continually waits for us in patient love but if we cannot give up the world then we are forever lost to Him. It is our choice though God will continually fight for us. Jesus gave us the examples of Kingdom living and He did it outside the world. He showed us what true love is. He showed us what true compassion is. He thoroughly explained what it is to live for the Father and this generation has thrown it away. We are not perfect so we must depend on His Grace and Mercy but not without making the commitment to giving up the things that keep us away from Him.

Are you willing to peek out so He can find you or will you stay hidden and lost?
The Parable of the Lost Sheep is a tale of a lot more than just one lost person. It is the lost people Israel and the hope for redemption and salvation of all people.

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