Read Luke 15:1-7
1-3 By this time a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus,listening intently. The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased,not at all pleased. They growled,”He takes in sinners and eats meals with them,treating them like old friends.” Their grumbling triggered this story.
4-7 “Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found,you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders,rejoicing,and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors,saying,’Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it-there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue. (THE MESSAGE)
We can sometimes mistakenly assume that we regular churchgoers,we Bible readers,we community volunteers,are somehow God’s special favourites. True,he loves all people,but we have a sneaking suspicion he has a secret preference for people like us.
That makes some sense: God is delighted with his people’s obedience and worship and praise. Those in Christ enjoy a family relationship with him that those who have not embraced Jesus cannot enjoy. So we do have a special status in God’s eyes.
But as for our being God’s favourites,teachers’ pets,our text tells us otherwise. Jesus reminds his very religious hearers (and critics) that God has a special burden for those who are lost. We who are ‘found’ by virtue of our trust in Jesus must never forget that God isn’t just content with our select company. He loves us,but is also lovingly seeking out those whom we might figure are beyond the pale.
We who are ‘found’ must never forget that unless he had come looking for us in the person of Jesus we would remain lost. And never forget that until their dying breath,the lost are not irretrievably lost.