I have found my sheep which was lost. I say you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.
How tenderly, lovingly and caringly the shepherd speaks of “my sheep”. Previously it was just one of a hundred, now there is a sense of belonging. Similarly we read in John 10, 27 &
28: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand.”
The first illustration of this parable is complete, and Jesus draws the conclusion: there is one
who repents, and heaven rejoices; and there are the ninety-nine who need no repentance.
We now need to ask ourselves certain personal questions:
Do I acknowledge that I cannot save myself and am therefore lost? Am I prepared to repent, i.e. change my way of thinking and act on it?
Or do I already know that I am one of His sheep, having repented? Has heaven rejoiced over me? If so, I can tell others of the Saviour-God, “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2, 3.4).
Or do I think that I need no repentance? Am I as assured of myself as that 90-year-old lady who sincerely believed she had done nothing in her life for which she needed to say, “Sorry!”
or is repentance old-fashioned and only something for people who are out-of-date, or guilty, or have a sentimental leaning?
(to be concluded on Monday)