Read: Matthew 18:1-14
And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. (v. 13)
Imagine that you are a shepherd with 100 sheep, and after counting you realize that one of them is missing. You don’t know where that sheep went, and now you must decide what to do. Do you leave the 99 in order to search for just one? What if a predator descends on the flock while you are away? Wouldn’t that be a far greater loss?
A rational shepherd would stay with the 99 instead of going after one. But not so with Jesus. In fact, the way Jesus tells the story, the obvious choice is to leave the 99 and look for the one. What kind of shepherd would do everything for one lost sheep? The kind who places a high value on every single sheep. The kind who loves the whole flock deeply. The kind who knows each sheep by name. The kind who is willing to lay down his life for the flock.
Jesus is that kind of shepherd, a savior who humbled himself completely, emptied himself absolutely, and denied himself totally, to the point of death on the cross, so that we can be reconciled with God. Jesus made it clear that he would do that even just for one of us. As the praise song “Reckless Love” describes it, God’s love “chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, / Leaves the ninety-nine.” How reckless. How amazing. —Felix Theonugraha
As you pray, give thanks to God for his deep and incomparable love for us.