Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them! So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!Luke 15:1-7
For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day… I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord. I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak.Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-16
These two scriptures make me do a little happy dance. First, Jesus represents God exactly. He searches for anyone who has wandered away to bring them safely home again. Secondly, he doesn’t give a fig what anyone says about the ones he is pursuing. No one is too sinful, too dirty, too washed up, too far gone for his attention. Finally, all of heaven does the happy dance when one of these lost children come home!
Have you felt beyond hope and help? Your past is too dirtied, too messed up to be redeemed? Are you beyond rescuing? Well, he’s looking for you. He left the 99 on the mountain and he is looking through the brambles and under the rocks and he won’t stop until he finds you. His love is unquenchable!
And that’s good news!