1-3: "By this time a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. 2The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, "He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends." 3Their grumbling triggered this story."
4: "Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn't you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it?" - The value of each sheep was so great that there would be no question but to leave in search for it.
5-6: "When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, 6and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, "Celebrate with me! I've found my lost sheep!" - Happiness and celebration.
10: "Count on it--that's the kind of party God's angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God." - After sharing a second story about finding a lost coin, Jesus puts the Pharisees in their place and silenced their grumbling.
Points to Contemplate:
Who are you "hanging around with?"
The Pharisees were grumbling about the type of people Jesus was with. Are you, like Jesus, spending time with the lost and the forgotten? Do you seek opportunities to be with the ungodly and the sinful? If not, why? If we are to be Christ-like in everything we do then should we not also be where Jesus would be? Does this make you feel uncomfortable or do you think your reputation would be sullied? Would it cause others to growl and grumble?
Are lost sheep your responsibility? Does it worry you that there are lost sheep walking past you every moment of your life? Do you agonize and cry over their souls? Do you search ways of reaching them and bringing them back into the fold? Do you pray for God to help you find His lost sheep?
Does your church focus its energy on reaching the lost? Or does it primarily take care of the ninety-nine? When you look at the programs and ministries of your church how many of them are successfully bringing people to Christ? Or do most of them focus on meeting the needs of the existing congregation? Is this what Jesus would want?
Do you celebrate? When someone finds Christ for the first time, does your heart burst with joy? Are you singing with the angels? Are you throwing a party? Or does it cause you to wonder what the big deal is all about? Do you simply think a few pleasant thoughts and then go about your day or do sing songs of joy deep into the night? Promises of the Gospel:
In these parables Jesus teaches the Pharisees about priorities. We are not to gather in pious and self-righteous clicks keeping our religion to ourselves. We are not too good to rub elbows with the lost and forgotten. We are not the elite that God has set aside for adornment and decoration. God's top priority is to seek out and find those who are lost. And, since this is His priority, it shall also be ours. As Christians we are safe and secure in our faith. We are being tended for. However, the lost souls that are roaming throughout the land need special attention. They need to be gathered up and carried into the arms of the loving God who cares so much for their salvation that He willingly sacrificed His Son in their behalf. Everything we do should be purposefully focused on finding the lost and bringing them to Christ.