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Summary: While our Lord was here on earth, He was continually pursuing lost souls. He was seeking lost men and women, and for that reason, He intentionally placed Himself, where He could come into contact with them, and He was so kind to them, that they crowed ar

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The Parable of the Lost Sheep

While our Lord was here on earth, He was continually pursuing lost souls. He was seeking lost men and women, and for that reason, He intentionally placed Himself, where He could come into contact with them, and He was so kind to them, that they crowed around Him, to hear Him speak. His audience was an odd assembly and a disreputable crowd. I am not surprised that the Pharisee, when he saw the congregation, sneered and said, “He collects around Him the outsiders of our community, the degraded men who collect taxes for the Romans, the prostitutes of the town and all the riffraff. Instead of giving them the cold-shoulder, He welcomes them and makes friends with them. He even eats with them. I heard that He went to the house of Zaccheus, and to Levi’s house, and that He ate there with those low class people.” The Pharisees thought as unfavorably of Jesus as they possibly could, because of the crowd that surrounded Him. And so, when He gives this parable, He is defending Himself;-not that He cared much about what they thought, but so that they would not have any excuses for speaking so angrily about Him. He tells them that He was seeking the lost, and where else should He be found, except among them. Should a doctor avoid the sick? Should a shepherd avoid the lost sheep? Wasn’t He where He should be, when He welcomed all the publicans and sinners to hear him speak?

Jesus defended Himself by asking a question of the men themselves; for He asked, “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?” No argument makes itself felt more impressively than one which comes close to home, and that is how Jesus put it. They were silenced, even if they were not convinced. It was a particularly strong argument, because in their case it was only a sheep that they would go after, but in His case it was something that was infinitely more precious than all the flocks of sheep in all of Israel; because it was the souls of men that He sought to save. His argument could be stated like this, “If you men would go after a lost sheep, and track it until you found it, how much more may I go after lost souls, and follow them as they wander here and there, until I can rescue them?” The act of going after the sheep was the part of the parable that Jesus wanted them to understand the most: the shepherd takes a route which he would never think of taking if it was only for his own pleasure; his path is not chosen for his own pleasure, but for the sake of the stray sheep. Jesus would never have come among publicans and sinners because it suited His taste and pleasure: if He was after His own ease and comfort He would have mingled with only the heavenly angels, and with His Heavenly Father; but He was not thinking of Himself, and so He went where the lost sheep were; “for the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost.” This parable is not only an answer, but it is also an instruction for us. Let’s look at those things which Jesus wants to teach us.


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