JESUS SEEKS US OUT WHEN WE GO ASTRAY
“Jesus told them this parable: ‘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? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.'” – Luke 15:4-6 –
Jesus cares for us as a shepherd over his flock. Shepherds love their flock, knowing each individually and looking out for them. Jesus, our Shepherd, loves, guides and protects us. He provides for us, preserves us and keeps us close. And He will rescue us when we are lost.
What a loving picture of Jesus placing His lost ones upon His shoulders and carrying them back to His sheepfold! He rejoices when we return to Him. The idea of Jesus leaving behind the ninety-nine to pursue the one who is lost may not seem logical or sensible… unless the one He is pursuing is us. This leads us to a deeper understanding of His relentless love for all who are His.
“Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 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.” – Luke 15:6-7
Are we following Christ… enjoying the Shepherd’s presence… one of the ninety-nine living in His blessing, His ideal pastureland? Or have we strayed from the flock?
Jesus longs for us to stay close to Him. He draws us to Himself by His Spirit. He wants us to follow Him all our days. Yet sometimes we wander away from the flock.
Perhaps we are accidentally led astray… lured off His path… tempted by the world and sin. Maybe we wander off. A wrong choice, a misguided judgment leads us away from the flock. Or we may set out on our own… doubting our Shepherd’s guidance… thinking the grass is greener in a new pasture.
Whatever causes us to be separated from our Shepherd… we are never lost to Him. The key is to recognize our own “lostness”. When we look around and see that our straying has left us alone… adrift… and vulnerable to the “wolves”, we may wonder what to do. We may think we are forever lost and cannot return to our Lord.
Our wayward ways separate us from our Shepherd. Questions flood our minds… Will we be missed? Will He notice we are not with the flock? Or have we fallen through the cracks? What if He never finds us? Perhaps He has abandoned us? Do we dare return after our wanderings?
“You’re the One who never leaves the one behind.” – “So Will I” — Hillsong UNITED
Shepherds know each of their sheep… their personalities, their tendencies, their weaknesses. They know the ones who may be curious to see the world. They know the ones who may stubbornly go their own way. They know the ones who may fall prey to temptation.
Jesus knows each of us personally as a shepherd. We have not surprised Him with our straying. He came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He always keeps His eye on us. He seeks us out when we stray. He finds us in our lostness. We will never stray so far that we cannot return to our Shepherd. He will always be there for us… ready to joyfully carry us home to Him. And all heaven will rejoice!