12“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?13And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away!14In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.
Jesus isn’t saying that God doesn’t value those who stay loyal to him. He is just making it clear that he will chase after the lost sheep. He also isn’t saying he will definitely bring the wandering sheep home, but if he does there will be great rejoicing. He makes it clear that God doesn’t want to lose even one of his little lambs.
Jesus often uses metaphors and stories about sheep and shepherds. I once read a book about this subject that was fascinating. I can’t remember the title or author, but a few points that stick out in my mind that may help us in the future.
- Shepherding was one of the least respected jobs there were in the Jewish society.
- Sheep, especially young sheep, wander a lot.
- Sheep are VERY hard for a stranger to herd or chase as a group, but they follow the shepherd they know very well.
- Sheep have almost no ability to defend themselves but depend on the shepherd.
- A lamb that repeated wandered would be trained in this manner: The shepherd would break the leg of the lamb. This then required that the shepherd carry the lamb and feed the lamb till the leg was healed. In that time the lamb would learn to love and depend on the shepherd. (I think I’ve made God break my leg about 10 times. Slow learner!)
Lord, help me be one of the 99 that does not stray. Help me rejoice every time you bring home a wandering lamb. Find those I love who have wandered. And please Lord, break my leg rather than let me wander away again. Beginner’s Online Bible Study *obbs*