The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So Jesus addressed this parable to them.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.” (Lk 15:1-7)
One of the things that absolutely terrifies so many people is to be lost and not able to find their way back. Children, when separated from a parent, will often become very agitated because they do not remember what direction they came from and they feel that they will not be able to find their mother or father again.
There have been many times in the past when I have gotten lost on the roads. I always experience an exquisite panic in those circumstances. It is a mixture of anger with myself for getting lost in the first place, anxiety that I will not arrive at my destination on time, and embarrassment at having to admit to someone that I had gotten lost.
Some types of “lost” are easy to get over. When we are driving and get lost, we can always stop and ask for directions. When we are young and lose our parents, we can always seek help. There always appears to be some sort of remedy.
Sometimes, “lost” can become a permanent reality.
If we become lost in the spiritual sense, we could end up, eternally, in a place that we did not want. If we lose sight of the Lord, we can become deluded and ensnared by the devil. That would be such a win for the devil and such an ultimate loss for God.
The Pharisees and scribes were complaining because some people who had become lost — the tax collectors and sinners — had found their way back. They found their way in the Lord. The Pharisees and scribes wanted to have no part of that. They did not think Jesus should want a part of it, either.
Yet Jesus, in His parable of the lost sheep, made it quite clear that God always searches out the lost and that, when the lost are found, even the angels celebrate! They celebrate because they know another soul has been saved from the peril of utter destruction.
Why did the Pharisees and scribes complain to Jesus? Perhaps, they, themselves, had become lost.
Are you lost? There is a person who can help you find the way: Jesus.
Go ahead. Give the angels a reason to party this day.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for all of those who have lost their way, that they may allow the Lord to find them and bring them to Himself.