Luke 15: 1-7

Psalm 14:1-5

Isaiah 53: 6

Understand that these parables of Jesus do not, and are not, any attempt to give advice on earthly living, as in a newspaper column of helpful advice. As a Polly’s Pointers would do. And these parables do not depict a complete story, but only a particular point that is being revealed of spiritual value.

Luke 15: 1-7 Therefore in the parable of the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep in the open field, is not to advise such actions as leaving your sheep alone in the wilderness, but rather the urgency of finding the lost sheep, revealing the value of each sheep. In addition to this value of the ‘one’, Jesus exposes the weakness of the religious leaders, the 99, who are the self-righteous, living with no regard for the ‘one’ who is lost. They are all sheep, both the wandering one, and the fold of 99, and they all need their shepherd.

There is great value in finding the ‘one’ lost sheep, i.e. the sinner, the lost, the forgotten. But note also the audience that Jesus is addressing, the 99. He finds great value in them also, enough so as to teach them in detail their disregard for the lost one, their sin, to which they are currently oblivious.

Jesus’ concluding statement to this parable is, “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over 99 righteous persons who need no repentance.”

So there is a thrust in the message to the majority, the scribes and Pharisees, who know the scriptures well enough to know Psalm 14: 3, “There are none righteous, no not one.” And Isaiah 53: 6 “All we like sheep have gone astray, each one of us has turned to his own way.” Therefore their righteousness is a self imposed righteousness, and in their hearts, their innermost being, they know it. Just as the Pharisee, Nicodemus, knew it, and came to Jesus in the dead of night, and in that hour Jesus received him, and told him spiritual truth which he gladly received. John 3: 6-7 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the Spirit is spirt, do not be amazed that I tell you, ‘you must be born again.'”

Jesus did not come to ostracize and reject anyone, but came to seek and to save the lost, whether they be the 99, or the one.