The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Begin with prayer, opening your heart to God’s Word and Spirit.
Read Luke 15:3-7
3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Tax collectors and “sinners” had come to hear Jesus teaching. The culture of the day considered them to be among the most despised, while the Pharisees and teachers of the law were among the most honored. The Pharisees had built for themselves a “kingdom” of religiosity, laws and traditions. It was hard for them to understand the teaching and actions of Jesus that reflected the true kingdom of God. The parable Jesus told spoke of those who were lost and of joy and celebration when they were found. It was a joy that those who cling to their man-made kingdoms would be unable to share.
Father, we rejoice with you when those who are lost come to you for forgiveness and life. Give us wisdom to know when our own traditions are becoming barriers to belief rather than gateways. Amen.