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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?”—Luke 15:4 (NKJV)
If you’ve ever doubted how Jesus truly feels about you, stop and read the context of today’s verse in Luke 15:1-7. What should be abundantly clear to anyone reading the passage is this: God absolutely loves sinners!
Don’t get me wrong, He does not overlook sin itself (the Cross is evidence of that). But as the smug Pharisees looked down their noses at Jesus, who welcomed sinners and broke bread with them, He launches into a few of the most hopeful parables in all of the gospels that reveal His heart for those who have lost their way.
What I absolutely love about the stories Jesus tells in this chapter of Luke is that each item that’s been lost (a sheep, a coin, and a wayward son) holds tremendous value to the one who misplaced it. While the Pharisees considered the outcasts Jesus spent His time with as worthless, God puts these hypocrites in their place by pointing out that “there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luke 15:7 NIV). Just imagine the uproar! If that doesn’t tell you how priceless we are to Him, I don’t know what will.
I also appreciate the way Jesus exposes the Pharisees’ hypocrisy with such clarity. He addresses their grumbling by asking them, “What man of you . . .?” In other words, He’s saying, “Which one of you in their right minds wouldn’t go looking for something irreplaceable that you’ve lost?” And in so doing, He elevates these marginalized members of society in such a way as to completely shatter the religious leaders’ concept of worth.
I can also say from firsthand experience that Jesus wasn’t just telling feel-good stories to a bunch of self-righteous jerks. He means every word He says. I know because I was once that lost sheep Jesus came looking for. Completely disconnected from the flock I was once a part of, God found me stumbling drunk and high through the wilderness of my life and rescued me. Through the death of a friend, Jesus came for me when I was at my lowest and carried me home to safety.
Our Savior will go to great lengths to find the ones He loves who are lost. What about you?
DIG: When was the last time you lost something valuable? How desperate did you feel while trying to recover it? What does that tell you about how God feels about lost souls?
DISCOVER: Read John 10:11-16. What does this passage reveal about Jesus’ intentions toward you as a member of His flock?
DISPLAY: Take time to thank God for saving you and ask Him to give you a burden to seek out and share His love with others who have lost their way.
Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.