“And when he finds it (the lost sheep), 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.” (Luke 15:5-7)
We’ve all been that lost sheep at least once in our lives. Some of us hit rock bottom, others lived a life of drudgery, and some of us put on the façade of confidence trying to be a god when we had no clue, making those around us miserable. Without God in my life those are the places in the desert I’ve visited. Perhaps there are other places where pitiful sheep roam.
The tax collectors, sinners, Pharisees, and teachers of the law, the people Jesus is talking to are all outside His fold. They will be the ones who take His life, but Jesus willingly sacrifices His life for them. He has pursued them and us for over 2,000 years and will relentlessly continue His pursuit until we repent.
Jesus carries us on his shoulders with pride to show the enemy we’re not abandoned and vulnerable anymore. As He carries us, we learn the ropes of being a good shepherd: watching, protecting, healing, saving, providing for, and loving. We take care of the sheep in our flock while Jesus pursues others, and we rejoice with Jesus and the angels in heaven when more lost sheep are found. The ninety-nine righteous have already repented and learned from Jesus’ teachings how to shepherd. We’re commissioned by God to help with the process.
Dearest Heavenly Father, thank you for Your guidance, love, and grace that makes me righteous. Help me attain the skills of a good shepherd so I can advance from being a pitiful sheep. As I watch, help me see and aid lost sheep. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.