God Knows…When Somebody’s Goofed – Part 1
Jesus brought good news to people who had messed up their lives. “The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” To the immoral, He brought hope: “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
The religious teachers of Jesus’ day weren’t pleased to see how even the scum of society came to hear Him. “Look at that,” somebody probably muttered. “Look at all those sinners gathering around Jesus! Doesn’t He know what kind of people they are?” “Yes,” whispered someone else, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” Even though they didn’t mean it as a compliment, this was the best thing they ever said about Jesus. Christ accepted sinners as children of God, runaways welcome to return home.
Jesus knew why the “respectable” people were complaining. So He told them a story. “If you had 100 sheep,” He asked, “Which of you, if he loses one of them, does not leave the 99, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” Everyone in the crowd knew about sheep. Many were in the sheep business, and had searched for lost sheep. They would never just forget a lost sheep.
The sheep knows it is lost. But it can’t find its way back home. It’s helpless. The shepherd starts out searching. He calls. He climbs. He listens. Hearing a faint ‘Baaa,’ he finally finds the sheep. He doesn’t scold the sheep for getting lost. He doesn’t drive it home with a whip. “When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing…He calls together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’”
By this story, Jesus showed what God is like. He still loves those who wander away from Him. He goes looking, and when He finds the bruised and wounded wanderer, He puts His arms of love around the wanderer, and brings him or her back to the corral of safety.
Turning to the women, Jesus spoke about what would happen if they lost a coin. Even if they still had nine silver pieces, they would light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until they found the missing one. Then they’d tell friends and neighbors so they could share in the joy.
God loves those who are doing wrong without realizing it. The coin didn’t know it was lost. Someone’s carelessness may have contributed to it being lost. But the lost coin is valuable. Its owner wants it back. In the same way, every person is precious to God.
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