From: Su Min
Subject: (10 Feb) Lost Sheep
Monday 10th February 1997
Epistle to The CyberChurch
GREETINGSTo my kebes (Hebrew: "keh-bes": Strong's Concordance #3532: ram, just old enough to butt: lamb: sheep:) love, peace and grace!
TEXTToday we look at Matthew_18:10-15:_See also Luke_15:4-7
See that you do not look down on one of these little ones: For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
The Son of man came to save what was lost. (Matthew_18:11)
What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and if one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? (Matthew_18:12)
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? (Luke_15:4)
And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. (Matthew_18:14)
And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says," Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep" (Luke_15:5-6)
In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost (Matthew_18:14) I tell you that in the same way there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent (Luke_15:7)
CONTEXTJesus had just taught the disciples a lesson in humility: they wanted to know who was the greatest: he taught them that true greatness came with childlike humility. He warns that we should not mislead little children.
ANGELSSee that you do not look down on one of these little ones: For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. (Matthew_18:10)
This refers to the Jewish belief that each of us have a personal guardian angel looking after us in heaven (See Acts_12:15). Our guardian angels are in close proximity to God, ever gazing at His wonderful face. Our guardian angels are just next to God, and can speak to Him at any time. Our personal guardian angels keep watch over us, that we might not stray, that no harm will fall upon us. Little innocent children are protected by guardian angels: woe to the man who looks down on these little children: who belittles them: who takes advantage of them: woe to the man who causes little children to sin: such acts will be reported to God by their guardian angels right away!
SAVIOURThe Son of man came to save what was lost. (Matthew_18:11)
Jesus came to save the lost sheep: This was God's plan to woo us back to the kingdom, that the joy and peace of Eden may be experienced by all who would return to the fold. The young children that believe in Him are His flock. Jesus guards his flock with vigilance. Woe betide any false shepherd who tries to entice these little children away!
WANDERING SHEEPWhat do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and if one of them wanders away... (Matthew_18:12a)
Jesus loves us as a good shepherd loves his sheep. The people in the crowds around listening were farmers themselves, or had friend who were farmers. They understood sheep. Silly sheep who would follow another sheep, just because that sheep was going somewhere. Silly sheep who wander off looking for anything pleasant: water to drink: grass to eat: greener grass in the next pasture: very easily lost: very easily led astray: vulnerable to attack by marauding beasts: harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew_9:36).
If you do not know where you are going, you might not get there, and not even know it! All we like sheep have gone astray...
We need to have Jesus as our Shepherd. We need to know we are heaven bound. We need Him to illuminate the path. We need Him to lead the way. We need Him to guide us along the straight and narrow.
GOOD SHEPHERD... will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? (Matthew_18:12b) Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? (Luke_15:4)
Such is the love of the shepherd that he will leave the pen, leave the ninety-nine safe and saved sheep on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off. His search will be careful. His search will be persistent: This takes energy. This takes risk. This takes sacrifice. He will continue to search until he finds the lost sheep.
Jesus, who being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness (Philippians_2:6-7)
The Good Shepherd came down from his throne in heaven to be amongst us, to seek us out, to reconcile us with Our Father in heaven, to bring us back to the fold.
An ordinary human shepherd will go after some lengths to seek out and save his wandering lost sheep. This the crowd could easily understand: But our Lord goes even further. He, the Good Shepherd, even as he talks to the crowd, is preparing to lay down his life for the sheep (John_10:11,15) within a month of this declaration. Jesus explains..."The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life- only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have the authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father (John_10:17-18)
FOUND SHEEPAnd if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. (Matthew_18:14) And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says," Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep" (Luke_15:5-6)
When the sheep is found the shepherd is happy
The shepherd joyfully puts him on his shoulders
The shepherd brings him home
The shepherd rejoices
The shepherd calls upon the neighbours to rejoice
Can you appreciate the joy of the shepherd: how happy he is to find his lost sheep. He joyfully places the sheep on his shoulders: Just imagine a medium sized sheep or lamb. Difficult to carry in your arms like a baby: but wrap it around your shoulders like a shawl: hold two back legs in your right hand, rear end of sheep on your right shoulder, body curled around your neck, chest of sheep on your left shoulder, head of sheep next to your left ear, forelegs held in your left hand. Safe. Secure: Protected from predators: no need to spend energy walking. The good shepherd carries the found sheep. No fear of getting lost again: Not only does the good shepherd provide the direction, the good shepherd brings him home:
So to for us who have submitted our lives to Jesus: He rejoices: He joyfully carries us: He gladly brings us home.
HEAVEN REJOICESIn the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost (Matthew_18:14) I tell you that in the same way there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent (Luke_15:7)
In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God in heaven over one sinner who repents (Luke_15:10)
Heaven rejoices, the angels rejoice, the good shepherd rejoices, God our Father in heaven rejoices when a sheep is found, when a sinner is saved.
OUR ROLEWe have been commissioned to feed the flock. We have been commissioned to care for the sheep. Every one who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans_10:13)
But how can they call on one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear unless you tell them the good news?
Father, thank You for sending Jesus to bring us back to the fold:
We hear His great commission to Go and make disciples of all nations.
We hear His command to feed His sheep.
Give us the obedience to do your will.
In the name of The Good Shepherd: Jesus our Lord and Saviour. AMEN
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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