So, he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
In this parable, it is usually assumed we are the lost sheep and thus have confidence that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, will come find us when we wander off. Although we are thankful that this is true, several questions come to mind.
What is up with this sheep??? Was it in denial about the dangerous reality of the world away from the flock? Was it looking for greener pastures or a more comfortable setting? Did the sheep take membership in the flock for granted and get left behind? Did the sheep have an argument with another member of the flock and march off in a huff? Or perhaps it was a black sheep and the rest of the flock shunned it?? Ouch…
Hmmm, I wonder—did the lost sheep really want to be found?
Truth is, no matter why the sheep got lost or if it wanted to be found, the Shepherd never gave up. Similarly, no matter what sin we have committed or whether we want to be found, Jesus continues to call us by name.
And —a note for the flock. Who was keeping an eye on this one who got lost? How did the whole flock not notice that someone was missing? Maybe there is room for repentance here as well? Fellow sheep, we are accountable for each other. Especially in COVID times. Let’s keep an eye on each other.
Prayer: Loving Shepherd, help us to look out for one another and to continually search for the lost. Amen.