This is our twenty-ninth study. Please click HERE for an introduction to this study.
Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. 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. Does he not 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.
In this parable the Pharisees though that the sinner had to seek God and His forgiveness—to earn the right to be in His presence. But God turns it all around. He is the one who reaches out to the sinner, to befriend the sinner in order to save him. God loves every one of his created ones, even those who are not yet found (saved).
We all have a lot of work to do to bring the lost back into the fold. We must do whatever it takes to bring them to salvation. We must be a friend to them.