DISCIPLES IN DANGER
Express to God how you feel about his amazing grace in your life.
Read Matthew 18:10–14
The Parable of the Wandering Sheep
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.  (Some manuscripts include here the words of Luke 19:10.)
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…” (John Newton, 1725–1807). Meditate on God’s grace notes in the song of your life.
The “little ones” (10), as yesterday’s reading revealed, can denote disciples or believers (6). Today’s passage shines the spotlight on disciples in danger—those who are struggling, stumbling or have strayed. How closely do we, as disciples, mirror our master’s attitudes? Not only are we warned against becoming stumbling blocks (Matt. 18:6–8), but also we are to actively partner with God in a radical rescue operation.
Reflect on Jesus’ rhetorical question (12) about whether a man would leave behind the 99 to go after one straying sheep. The modern mind might quip, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush!” But the ancient eastern shepherd, who knew his flock intimately, and tenderly loved each sheep, was liable to leave behind not a mere “bird in the hand,” but 99 sheep on the hills, if it meant saving one lost lamb!
Grace, by nature, entails risk. In God’s economy, the odds are stacked 99:1 in favor of a single straying sheep (14). With reckless, relentless grace, the Good Shepherd pursues the sinner and rejoices exceedingly over a successful search-and-rescue operation (13).
Do you know disciples who are in danger of stumbling or straying? How will you endeavor to “be merciful to those who doubt” or “snatch others from the fire and save them” (Jude 22,23)?
Lord, open my eyes to see my brothers and sisters who need a helping hand. Give me Your words to say.
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