Tuesday, 25 January 2022

The Parable Of The Lost Sheep

The Parable Of The Lost Sheep

(A Teaching On How God Pursues The Sinner)

Luke 15:1-7

“Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.  And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying:

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which 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 neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’
I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”"

Oh what a joyful parable! It fills the heart with glee,
To see my Lord address the Scribes and every Pharisee!
Calling out their pompous ways and woeful lack of love,
Jesus shows the people the true heart of God above!

Here He paints the picture of a sheep who’s gone astray,
The lost and wayward sinner who has turned to his own way.
The message is astounding and leaves no room for doubt;
Our caring God will search for us, His love will seek us out!

A concept never taught before; God searches for the lost!
Our Lord pursues the sinner as the one of greatest cost.
Unlike the prideful Pharisees, we’re welcomed at His Throne!
Our Shepherd seeks us earnestly and calls all sinners home.

And when He finds the wanderer, God goes that extra length,
He carries us so tenderly, upholding us with strength.
A tale not of proportion but of joy and celebration,
Songs of great rejoicing ring through all of Heaven’s nation!

Oh what a wondrous parable, it makes my spirit sing!
I love to hear these blesséd truths from Jesus Christ my King!
A story of redemption, of repair and restoration,
May it join our hearts with God in joyous jubilation!

Isaiah 53:6
“All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

Zepheniah 3:17
“The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Points For Reflection And Insight
In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees had done such a good job of giving the impression that God was only interested in welcoming the so-called “righteous Religious leaders” before His Throne that the common person didn’t feel welcome there at all. They’d been taught to think that God was completely unapproachable to the likes of them as they were classed as unworthy.

Of course we know that everyone is unworthy before God’s Throne without Jesus but what He’s addressing here is the Pharisees’ self-righteous attitude. They believed they were superior, righteous and receivers of God’s divine compassion while everyone else was guilty and underserving.
The truth is, no one deserves God’s mercy! It’s a gift He extends to all equally and so the Pharisees’ belief that they were “spiritually superior” was incorrect.

They constantly gave the idea that God was continually angry and disgusted with the common sinner so this parable from Jesus really created quite a profound picture.
Jesus makes it clear that in stark contrast to the attitude of the Pharisees, not only does God’s love welcome the sinner but it goes that step further and in fact pursues the sinner! God loves us so much that He actually goes after us!

What’s more, the picture of God rejoicing and celebrating over a sinner would not have been an image pictured in those days. That’s not how the Religious leaders taught people to think of their Creator at all. God pursuing the sinner and rejoicing over them would have a been completely foreign concept to the people of Jesus’ day.

We read in 1 John 4:19,
“We love Him, because He first loved us.”

The Parable Of The Lost Sheep gives a wonderful picture of Christ coming to Earth and going to the Cross in order to pursue redemption for each and every sinner. His sacrifice means that we can now come into a relationship with our Creator.
As God incarnate, Jesus was responding to the Pharisees’ criticism of Him spending time with sinners and He made the point that His very presence there on Earth was in order to pursue the sinner! It was for the sinner that God Himself had come!

How does it make you feel to consider that in spite of all your faults and flaws, God loves you so much that He pursues you? Have you ever pictured God rejoicing over you? So often we offer our celebratory praise to God but when you think of God celebrating over you, how does this image make you feel?
His interest in you and love for you runs so deep in His heart that He’s prepared to go after you and call you by name to His side.

Have you responded to this love God extends and drawn close to Him or are you still wandering as a lost soul on your own? Do you know someone who believes they’ve strayed so far that God couldn’t possibly be interested in them? Do you know someone who needs to hear that God loves them and wants them to draw close to His side?

Let’s share the love of God today with others. May we give thanks to Jesus for His pursuing love that seeks us out and calls us into a close relationship with Him!