In the parables of the lost sheep, the lost son, and the lost coin, it becomes clear that it is we who are lost and God who seeks to find us. Those in the position of danger are the ones who presume upon their relationships with God.
In the parable of the lost sheep—just like the parables of the lost son and coin—it is God who is looking for us. And again, the danger is for the Pharisees and the teachers of the law and all others who presume upon their relationships with God.
We all have a sense that we are lost. In our best moments we have a sense that pursuing God will help. And in those very moments it is God prompting us to do this, for God is always pursuing us and occasionally, we cooperate! The image of the lost sheep is helpful because it is clear how passive the sheep is in the story. The sheep wonders off. The shepherd goes in pursuit. When the shepherd finds the sheep the response is one of love and joy expressed by lifting the sheep up off the ground, placing it around the shepherd’s neck and bringing it home to celebrate.
When Christ died on the cross for us this is what he was accomplishing for us! We are the sheep being brought home to the celebration! It’s time to wake up to this reality and join in with joy! There is no greater source of meaning and fulfillment than knowing this and experiencing it as true in our lives.
“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.
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