Once we realize we are lost sheep, it’s like a GPS signal for the Lord to know where to find us. Our self-righteousness leaves us lost in a place where the Lord won’t even look. Who are you? Holier than thou or in need of the grace of God Jesus brings to our lives?
1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “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? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 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.
I sense a little sarcasm in the Lord’s tone. Do you hear it? The ninety-nine righteous persons do not need to repent. Really? I’ve got 99 problems and not needing to repent isn’t one of them. Seriously. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Even the Pharisees and teachers of the law.
Jesus was answering their judgmental statement, and he was telling it like it is. Jesus came to call sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32). If you are righteous and don’t need to repent, you can ignore Jesus. Oh, by the way, you aren’t. There is none good except God, according to Jesus (Mark 10:18).
Okay, so now that we understand that we don’t sit high above those sinners with whom Jesus was eating, what’s the good news here?
The good news is that Jesus came for the one lost sheep. He walked the earth for the banished and estranged and exiled. He came to heal the lives of the broken and the weary and the lesser than and the messed up. He came for you. And he came for me. That’s good news.
It’s good news for me because I have more in common with tax collectors and sinners than I do with Pharisees and teachers of the law. Why? Not because of my sin. My sin makes me equal with both groups. Rather, it’s my self-awareness of my need which makes me more like the ‘sinners.’ It’s the self-righteous who are more like the Pharisees.
Whom do you have more in common with?
Once we see ourselves as lost sheep, it’s like a GPS signal for the Lord to know where to find us. Our self-righteousness leaves us lost in a place where the Lord won’t look.
Find me, Jesus.