No Sheep Too Far Gone

March 1, 2021

1 All the tax collectors and sinners were approaching to listen to him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man among you, who has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it? 5 When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, 6 and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ 7 I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who don’t need repentance.

Luke 15:1-7

Written by Kiersten Thompson from the West Franklin Campus

Reading this passage, I find myself judging the Pharisees. As part of God’s chosen people, they strived for perfection and believed that by following all the laws, they would be united with Christ. Other passages in scripture show us that the Pharisees, even with all the greatest of intentions, were imperfect people. They missed the mark. They acted in ways that did not please God. They could not work their way to perfection because, like all of us, they were also sinners—no better than the “sinners” feasting at the table with Jesus.

But Jesus knew the hearts of the Pharisees. Using the example of sheep in the parable, Jesus reminds us that each and every individual has value. While the Pharisees feared associating with so-called sinners for their wrongs, Jesus looked past the exterior. He sees the beauty of the Creator in each of us. We were all created in the image of God, making us equal—none more valuable than the other.

Jesus also points out the joy and celebration that takes place when a lost sheep is found. How awesome that we serve a God who seeks us in His love, and then celebrates when we come to know Him through repentance and forgiveness of our sins through Jesus!

Our relationship with Christ does not make us more valuable, more loveable, or more worthy than those who do not know Him yet. Rather, our relationship with Christ emboldens us to step into our calling to actively love those around us. As we pursue Him, we begin to pursue the lost around us.

My prayer for each of us is that we are humbled and learn to serve Christ as Jesus served the sinners at the dinner table—by listening to their stories, mourning with them, and celebrating when they come to know the One who first loved us. Let us keep our eyes open to those God places in our lives and remember that there is no sheep that is too far gone.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. In what ways does your cup need to be filled with love, forgiveness and grace from God so you can share the same love, forgiveness and grace with others?
  2. Who has God placed around you that needs encouragement and love? Pray for eyes to see these opportunities and to be a vessel of Christ’s love to others in need.

Missions Prayer
Pray for Johnny and Anna, global workers in our church family serving in North Africa/Middle East.

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