“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” Luke 15:4-5
One of my favorite parables that Jesus told is the parable of the lost sheep. I love this story for so many reasons, but mostly for the simple fact that it is a beautiful picture of how Jesus never gives up on us, and constantly pursues us, even if we constantly wander far away from Him. What an awesome truth that God is faithful to us even when we are not faithful to Him.
In this parable, Jesus talks about a shepherd that has one hundred sheep. That shepherd loses one sheep, and is left with ninety-nine. The shepherd then leaves the ninety-nine sheep to go search for that one, hoping to bring it home where it belongs. Personally, I would think that ninety-nine sheep is enough, and the lost one can figure it out. But we are all like that one sheep sometimes.
We wander and wander until we get lost. If we didn’t serve a faithful, loving, and merciful God, we would be left to figure it out on our own. The good news is that Jesus is our shepherd. He would leave the ninety-nine behind just to come search after us. And he will not stop until He finds us, and brings us home.
As sinners, we will inevitably disobey God and run away from Him. Sometimes we don’t even know that we are wandering. We get busy. We have class, sports, trips, jobs, and all sorts of extracurricular activities that barely leave room for God. We say we are having “quiet time”, but it is a rushed 15 minutes in which we are often times thinking of what we still have left to do, rather than spending our time fully focusing on God’s word. We climb up a mountain of responsibilities, and we distance ourselves from the One who loves us the most.
There is GOOD NEWS! The beautiful thing about the parable of the lost sheep is that he chases us up that mountain, and does not stop until we notice His presence again. I can’t count the number of times I’ve run from God, and put less important tasks before Him. I end up frustrated, lost, and confused. And each time I wander, I wonder if God will forgive me and still lead me home.
The awesome truth is that He remains faithful to me, and He pursues me relentlessly. He gives me chance, after chance, after chance, after chance, and He will continue to do so. He is merciful. What a great God we serve, that He loves us enough to come after us even when we’ve wandered away for the millionth time.
It doesn’t matter how many times we run or hide from Jesus. He will continue to come after us, because that is the kind of Father that He is. He is good, and His love is immeasurable. Even after you feel like you have failed God in a way that you don’t think He could ever forgive you, He is right beside you, ready to meet you where you are, and lead you home. He loves you enough to leave the ninety-nine and rescue you, the one whom He loves with never-ending mercy and grace.