Luke 15:3-4, The Lost Sheep

And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 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?

//Sometimes we, in our sheltered age, have a hard time relating to the parables of Jesus. Here is one that is often misread.

Jesus asks a question: Which of you shepherds wouldn’t leave 99 sheep behind the go and find one?

The answer, of course, is none of them would be so foolish. Leaving 99 sheep in the wilderness is utter madness! No shepherd having any business sense at all would take that risk.

Having left the crowd with a good laugh, Jesus then explains that that is precisely what God does!

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

The ninety and nine “just” persons, Jesus explains, hold no interest for God. His joy is only in the one who, becoming “lost,” finally recognizes his frailty and turns to God for help.

This is a parable about accepting the sinner, while shunning the self-righteous Pharisees.

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