Summary: I’m so glad that the Great Shepherd watches over his sheep. We can rest assured that Jesus is doing everything possible to bring our lost loved ones into the fold. He wants none of his sheep to be lost.
Searching for One Lost Sheep
By Pastor Jim May
Luke 15:1-7, "Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance."
One lost sheep out of a hundred. One sheep that is a part of God’s own that has somehow strayed away from the safety of the Shepherd’s care and has gone out into a hostile, deadly world because something out there has caught it’s attention and taken it’s eyes off of the Shepherd just a little too long. One lonely, hurting, lost sheep out of a hundred. But God will leave the 99 who dwell in safety and his whole focus shifts to finding that one little lost sheep. I’m so glad that I have a Great Shepherd that loves us that much!
Charles Spurgeon, in writing a sermon that is far better than mine, made this observance.
When he is looking for that one lost sheep, the shepherd pursues a route which he would never think of pursuing if it were only for his own pleasure; his way is not selected for his own ends, but for the sake of the stray sheep. He takes a track up the hills and down into the valleys, far into a desert, or into some dark wood, simply because the sheep has gone that way, and he must follow it until he finds it. Our Lord Jesus Christ, as a matter of taste and pleasure, would never have been found among the publicans and sinners, nor among any of our guilty race: if he had consulted his own ease and comfort he would have consorted only with pure and holy angels, and the great Father above; but he was not thinking of himself, his heart was set upon the lost ones, and therefore he went where the lost sheep were; "for the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
The shepherd look over his little flock of 100 sheep but he can only count 99. He counts them again, and he notices that a certain one has gone: it may be a white-faced sheep with a black mark on its foot. The shepherd knows all about it, for "the Lord knoweth them that are his." The shepherd has a picture of that wandering sheep in his mind’s eye, and now he thinks only a little of the ninety and nine who are feeding in the green pastures that he has found for them. Instead, his mind is in great turmoil about that one lost sheep. One idea possesses him and his whole purpose is changed as he thinks of the fact that "a sheep is lost!" This agitates his mind more and more—"a sheep is lost." He is overcome with grief over that one little sheep. He cannot eat bread; he cannot return to his home; he cannot rest while one sheep is lost.
To a tender heart of love for his ship, this one lost sheep is a painful subject of thought. It is a sheep, and therefore utterly defenseless now that it has left its shepherd. If the wolf should spy it out, or the lion or the bear should come across its track, it would be torn in pieces in an instant. The shepherd asks his heart the question—"What will become of my sheep? Perhaps at this very moment a lion may be ready to spring upon it, and, if so, it cannot help itself!" A sheep is not prepared for fight, and its not fast enough to run for the swiftness of its enemy is great. These thoughts make the compassionate shepherd even more sad as he thinks again—"A sheep is lost, it is in great danger of a cruel death." A sheep is of all creatures the most senseless. If we have lost a dog, it may find its way home again; possibly a horse might return to its master’s stable; but a sheep will wander on and on, in endless mazes lost unless I go and find it and bring it home again.”