Luke 15 “The Lost Sheep” 1 Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. 2 Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So He told them this parable, saying, 4 “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7 I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Want to to know some stuff about sheep? Pay attention because some of this may sound familiar to you…Sheep are:
- Stubborn (yep)
- Foolish (ouch!)
- Slow learners (should I say, rather, that they don’t learn from experience…they do the same dumb things over and over and get the same negative results)
- Demanding (ok…its getting uncomfortable now)
- Restless…they wander off
Hmmm…anyone relate to any of that? Know what the shepherd does to a sheep that tends to wander off from his protection? First, let me tell you that when a sheep realizes that it’s lost, it freezes. It cannot ‘retrace’ its steps to find its way back…it kind of just panics (ever get lost in life and wonder, “how did I end up here?”)!
So, the shepherd (when he realizes he is missing one of his own) goes out looking for the lost sheep. When he finds the sheep, he HAS to teach it not to wander off anymore. Remember that I mentioned sheep were slow learners? So, the shepherd can’t just feed the sheep treats and tell him to “stay” like a dog. The shepherd will actually break one of the legs of the sheep. I know what you’re thinking…how cruel, right? Well, hold on…you know what happens next? After the shepherd breaks the leg of his precious sheep, he carries the sheep around on his own shoulders. He feeds the sheep by his own hand. It’s a painful lesson for the sheep, but it is followed by a bonding between the sheep and the shepherd and a newly learned dependency from the sheep. Guess what? That particular sheep will NEVER wander from the shepherd again! Pretty fascinating, huh? Is it no wonder that over and over in the Bible there are references to us being like sheep? Think about it…
Does it make you read this passage from Psalm 23 in a different light?1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.