Summary: That one single lost sheep is as worthy and as loved as a flock of 99 safe sheep or saved sheep. And that heaven rejoices more over the one lost soul that repents than it does over a whole church who already believes.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
15:4-7pp -- Mt 18:12-14
1 Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. 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. Does he not 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 Ninety & Nine
Things to consider:
The audience – Tax Collectors/Sinners/Pharisees/Teachers of the law
What is the accusation? – That the worst of the worst of society are attracted to and are drawn near to Jesus.
An accusation made by the Religious Ruling Class to discredit Jesus and his teaching – how good can his teaching be if it’s the worst of people who are attracted to him?
Jesus heard their muttering and he hears those of you here today who may also be muttering. What’s all the fuss about a Baptism and why all the ceremony?
What was Jesus reaction? – The Ninety & Nine
What was the lesson?
That one single lost sheep is as worthy and as loved as a flock of 99 safe sheep or saved sheep. And that heaven rejoices more over the one lost soul that repents than it does over a whole church who already believes.
It is not a religious system that saves us it is the Good Shepherd himself. The Shepherd went looking for the lost sheep.
We are lost without the Good Shepherd. We need to be under his care, his protection, his grace. We can escape the disgrace of sin when we embrace the Grace of the cross.
That is what these parents and these children have done here today.
In the book of Genesis God used water to give us a second chance when God saved Noah from the flood and washed away the rest of the sinful world.
In the book of Exodus God used water to separate the waters of the Red Sea to free Moses and lead his chosen people from the bondage of slavery under the Egyptians.
God gave us a new start by the flood and separated us from our bondage with our escape through the Red Sea.
That was the Old Testament.
But Jesus brings us something New.
Jesus himself went to John the Baptist in an act of obedience to God the Father, Jesus publicly presents himself to repent even though he was without sin he lowered himself to one like us a lost sheep and God the Holy Spirit came upon him as a dove and God the Fathers voice rang out from heaven saying this is my son whom I love with him I am well pleased. Matthew 3:17
Today God’s voice rings out in this Sanctuary and it pleases God just as much today to see these two little girls baptized as it did when he saw his own son baptized because these two little ones are lost sheep that are in need of the Good Shepherd.
Their parents stand and present them because they too acknowledge that with out Jesus they would be lost sheep as well but by God’s grace they have been found and through the waters of Baptism they have entered in to a grace covenant with Jesus.
Friends are you lost trying to find your way in a world that is more and more confusing?
Would you like to find peace in your soul and know hope that can carry you into eternity?
Then just like Jesus, just like these parents, just like these little lambs come to the waters of Baptism and repent before the Good Shepherd.
Then the Grace of God will fall upon you and grow in ever increasing measure as you join the Good Shepherd and the ninety and nine as he leads us to that final pasture in paradise.
If you wondered about Baptism and if today’s events have stirred your heart please speak to me after the service and I’ll be happy to lead you to the Good Shepherd so that you too can be under the love and protection, and care that comes from the Grace of God through Jesus the Good Shepherd. – Amen.