Wherever Jesus went, the people pressed close around Him. They wanted to hear His wonderful words about love and forgiveness. Many were sorry for their sins when they heard Jesus talk about the love of God. Jesus loved the people and was happy to help them come to God. But the Pharisees and learned men frowned at Jesus and talked about Him.
“Just look at that,” they said to each other. “He spends time with sinners. He even eats with them. How can He be good, if He spends His time with people like that?” They thought people had to repent before they could come to God. Jesus heard what they said, and He wanted them to know that God comes to people first, and that is what makes them want to repent.
There were many shepherds in the crowd and the other people had all seen the shepherds in the fields taking care of their little flocks. The shepherds took good care of their sheep. Each shepherd knew all his sheep by name. The sheep knew their shepherd’s voice and followed him when he called them. If a sheep was lost or in trouble, the shepherd would risk his own life to save the sheep.
“What do you men do,” Jesus asked, “if you have a hundred sheep and you lose one of them? Everyone of you will leave the 99 in their pasture and go search for the lost sheep. When you find it, you carry it home on your shoulders, rejoicing. You’re so happy it’s found, you call all your friends together and have a party to celebrate.”
He looked at the men who were finding fault with Him.
“That is just like heaven,” He said. “There is more joy over one sinner who repents than over 99 who don’t need to repent.”
Jesus looked at the women who stood listening to Him. They wore strings of coins around their necks or on their foreheads. These coins were their family fortunes and very important to the women. If a woman lost even one of the coins she inherited, it was a great sorrow to her.
“What do you women do if you lose a silver coin?” asked Jesus.
You light a lamp so you can see to search every corner and crack. You sweep the house carefully in case it has fallen on the floor. You search very hard and don’t give up till you find that precious coin. Then, you call your friends and neighbors together to share in your joy. That, too, is just like heaven. The angels celebrate when even one sinner repents.”
The Pharisees had no answer to the stories Jesus told. He showed them that God does not just wait for sinners to come to Him. God comes to them. When we know how much He loves us, we are sorry for our sins. We want to be like Him. He forgives us and helps us to live in a way that pleases Him.
“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance,” Jesus said.
Do you want to answer God’s call? If so, bow your head just now and ask Him to forgive your sins. Tell Him you love Him and thank Him for offering you His salvation.
There are many verses about shepherds in the Bible, for many sheep were kept in the Near East. The Shepherd’s Psalm is one we all love. Read it, Psalm 23. Whom did God guide like sheep? Psalm 78:52-53. What is God called? Psalm 80:1 Who is the Good Shepherd? What does He do?
John 10:11, 14-15.
Our Treasure Chest Verse tells us why Jesus came to this earth:
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10