Summary: This sermon decribes who is the most important in the church. Many of us have our focus on the wrong person.
The Most Important One
Matthew 18:12 - How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
Luke 15:4 - 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?
In this study we are concerned with the lost sheep.
Word web defines lost as; people who are destined to die soon
I am not talking about the sheep that has quit or gone out to start their own herd without proper permission or simply thinks that they know a better way than the Shepard.
No we can let those go and don’t ever have to look their way again (unless of course if they need us). (Matthew 8:22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.)
The sheep I am talking about is the one who has given all that they know how to make it but somehow just does not cut the mustard. This is the most important sheep.
It takes a great amount of consideration for the Shepard to care for the sheep enough to follow him into the dangerous mountains to get him
If we used the logic of conventional math and science we would probably conclude that the economical value of the one lost sheep in comparison to the ninety-nine that are safe is really not that great
It is tough enough for a good Shepard to lead the ninety-nine that are not lost but to have to leave them to go for one that is lost could be drastic and could cost him everything.
While he is gone after the one there are so many things that can happen to the ninety-nine.
By making a special effort for the one, the Shepard has to be willing to put everything on the line.
This would be a noble act for a Shepard but Jesus said if any man.
This means that the one in charge of the sheep could be anybody. The sheep don’t even have to belong to this person but since he has assumed responsibility for their health and welfare.
Since he has placed a commitment to someone that he would be willing to place their safety above his own he is now obligated to put it all on the line to ensure the safety of the sheep
I have had the opportunity to watch authentic sheepherders in their line of work.
In my observation I have come to a conclusion that sheep are wonderers they don’t pay attention to where they are going they just follow the leader.
The leader can do no wrong in their eyes so they follow without question
The sheepherder for the most part has to take a break when they take a break. Although the sheepherder is the only one that knows the final destination, if the sheepherder is smart he will only move at the pace of the slowest sheep which could be pretty slow in the case of injured or weak sheep
For the sheepherder to leave the ninety-nine sheep in anyplace other than a designated and predetermined place for safety can be utterly dangerous.
One scripture says he has to be willing to leave the ones that are safe in the wilderness (Luke 15:4)
To go into the mountains to find the one that is lost (Matthew 18:12)
Let’s take a contrasting look at mountains vs. wilderness
Wordweb defines wilderness as a wild and untamed area
According to wilderness.net a wilderness is: the land that is - rare, wild places where one can retreat from civilization, reconnect with the Earth, and find healing, meaning and significance.
Mountains can be a little more tricky
What some call a hill in one location may actually be larger than mountains somewhere else. For example in the United States, the Black Hills of South Dakota are higher than the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas.
All mountain ecosystems have one major characteristic in common--rapid changes in altitude, climate, soil, and vegetation over very short distances.
Since the sheep is looking down eating what is in front of his eyes he may not see the immediate danger that is posed directly in front of him
While we are on the subject of sheep I would like to share some research information with you about sheep cloning
The Cloning of Dolly
The cloning of Dolly has proved that cloning of adult animals could be accomplished. Previously, it was not known if an adult nucleus was still able to produce a completely new animal. Genetic damage or the simple deactivation of genes in cells were both considered possibly irreversible. This however was not the case. Ian Wilmut and Keith Cambell discovered a method with which to synchronize the cell cycles of the donor cell nucleus and the host egg cell cytoplasm. Without synchronized cell cycles, the donor nucleus would not be in the correct state for the host egg to accept it. The donor cell was forced into the Go stage of the mitotic cell cycle by starving the cells. When the nucleus enters the egg cytoplasm, egg proteins "re-program" the chromosomes in the nucleus. The dividing embryo is transferred into the oviduct of a surrogate mother sheep. The embryo continues to divide and then implants in the uterine wall.