Sheep are very mellow, easy to be led, easy followers. They are protected in numbers and know this instinctively, so they follow each other. It is because of this trait that herds of sheep have fallen into an abyss and died when without a shepherd.
shepherds take care of the sheep. They take them to areas where there is plenty of pasture and have minimal exposure to predators. Shepherds also make sure there is no poisonous plants that can make the sheep sick. In other words, the sheep depends on the shepherd for everything. The sheep follow where the shepherd leads. In the Scriptures, we are often compared to sheep and Jesus is the shepherd
During our time with the Master today, in the scripture we are trying to understand, we read that sinners were coming to Jesus and the pharisees and scribes were livid. How can Jesus eat with such filth?! If Jesus is something at all, they are thinking, He would not be spending any time with such people! And He calls Himself God’s sent! blasphemous!
Jesus does not let their attitude bother Him but finds a teaching moment again as usual! He tries to reason with them that if they were shepherds, they would go to extreme measures to find one lost sheep. He said: ” What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it”
I used to think this idea did not make sense! How can you leave ninety-nine sheep and potentially lose many more in an attempt to find one? I believe His rationale was that those ninety-nine sheep were sheep who were well and He wasn’t afraid they would run and get disperse. They were content eating the pasture on the field the shepherd had led them to. These sheep represented “The repented flock” “The trusting disciples”
To help me understand His rationale for leaving the ninety-nine sheep I had to go to the internet and learn some things that helped me understand the concept of a healthy sheep behavior. I learned that sheep are born with a specific set of traits:
- Sheep are social animals, they sense protection by staying together.
- Sheep by nature are followers
- Sheep by nature are docile animals
- Sheep have good memories.
It seems to me that humans, once we are under the care of the Shepherd, are to behave in a similar fashion. We are supposed to be content, depend solely on Him, eat the food He provides, go to the fields He takes us, as He provides for our needs and be in the community that follows Him.
This reminds me of Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
What a beautiful picture of our lives under His care! I also learned that it is uncommon for a sheep to go on its own way as it instinctively knows it would be unprotected and the natural thing for it to do is to be with the group. When a sheep goes its own way, the shepherd is to expect it to be ill. When we are away from God’s will, we are ill. We are Spiritually ill. We think we can depend on our own and do not place our trust in the Shepherd but on ourselves. We are under the influence of this broken world.
In exchange, our Shepherd Jesus is explaining how each one of us is so important to Him than even if one is out of His will, following a different path, being a sinner, being sick, He will go find him/her. He knows the end the sheep will have when unprotected. He knows the eternal consequence those of us who remain in sin and away from Him will endure and to prevent this He came, taught us through so many lessons and was willing to die.
Parallel to the sheep illustration, He used the example of the coin a woman had lost. He said: ” Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and looses one, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and searches carefully untill she finds it?” Obviously the coin is an item and does not have feelings or suffers consequences on itself for being lost. I believe what He is trying to demonstrate is that each one is valuable and one lost is too many.
In both illustrations, the end is a rejoice! When the lost sheep is found He says: When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders rejoicing and when He comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them ” Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!” Same when the woman finds the lost coin. He says: When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!”
He ends each illustration with the sentence “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” ” in the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents”
Why do you think He says there is such celebration? Because Jesus wants one more person to follow Him? Because the Angels want more people in heaven? or because they know what end awaits you and me when we have not grazed on His pasture? When we have not made Him our Lord.
Do you think He came to fix the world?, to end poverty and suffering? No, He came because He knew the consequence of sin and what was our end if He did not take it upon Himself to pay the debt for our transgressions. The doom destined for this broken world Without Him. Our end would be forever painful without Him. This is why He came! Thanks God for such Mercy! Mark 2:17 Jesus said: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Please Listen to The Master and don’t be lost. He loves you and was willing to die for you. He wants you to give Him your life. He wants you to let Him shepherd you and guide you on this journey as we reach our final destination. Please come to Him and make Him your shepherd, your Master! Eternity will not be changed and neither is heaven or hell. Where you spend your eternal time is up to the choice you make. Today is the day of salvation. Please don’t delay.