Then Jesus told them this parable: “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? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 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.”
Ninety-nine sheep stayed together. They kept the shepherd within sight and sound. They made sure they didn’t wander too far in search of greener grass. They stayed away from the treacherous ground and the dangers that lurked in the shadows behind rocks and in mountain caves. They knew the peril of being spotted alone. They stayed together.
However, one sheep was made from a different mold. He liked to wander, explore, and take a peek to see what might be lurking. He enjoyed the adventure of testing his footing on dangerous heights. He didn’t need the safety of the flock. He was branded with the letters P-R-I-D-E. He could take care of himself. Until one night…he got a little too far away. The howl of the wild animals melted his pride into a trembling fear. He was alone, vulnerable, and scared.
When the shepherd found that one sheep was missing, the ninety-nine were indignant. “He always strays away.” “He should have known better.” “Let him spend a vulnerable night in the dark.” But the shepherd wasted no time in starting his search. He would not give up until he found the lost sheep. When he returned with the one that had strayed, he said, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” Then Jesus concluded the story: “…There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Jesus loves the lost.
Father, thank You for sending Jesus to search for me and find me when I was lost. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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