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Monday, September 6, 2010

9/7/10 Luke 15:1-7 Parable of the Lost Sheep

1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."
3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' 7 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.

(The Lost Sheep by Alfred Soord 1868-1915)

Thoughts: There is an idea that we are too little for God's concern.  Even the Psalmist looked at the stars and said "what are mere mortals that you are mindful of us?" (Ps. 8).  Jesus points out God's individual concern here as well as pointing out that God is very concerned about those who have strayed away.  His point is that we shouldn't be prejudiced against those who are not part of the fold- buiding up walls against them; Rather, Jesus is setting an example for us to not only know the lost, but value the lost above the safe. 

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your great love- not just for the world in general but for me in particular.  Help me to have your heart for those who are wandering away from you in life.

John Calvin abridged: Christ tries to show that a good teacher ought not to labor less to recover the lost than to preserve those who are in his possession.  He also teaches that we should have patience with our Lord's disciples when they go astray, and bring them gently back to the road. We should be careful that we do not drive away those whom God wishes to be saved.  Luke indicates that the whole human race belongs to God, therefore our job is to gather those who have gone astray from Him.  We should rejoice when they are found as one rejoices over a grief relieved.

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