Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them." So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost. ’ (Luke 15.1-6; see also Matthew 18.12-14)
The loving God pursues us. He leaves the ninety-nine to find the one. From a rational perspective, He would do better to guard his ninety-nine and forsake the one that He’s lost because that would be more profitable. But actually, God’s love doesn’t seek profit - every individual sheep is worth pursuing.
Sometimes, we can be exclusive about the people that we want to show love and care to. In verse 2 we read: ‘the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them”’. But the Jesus that we claim to follow had no requirement for those he ate with. The sinners and the tax collectors were people that he came to find. Jesus went to Matthew’s house - Matthew the tax collector - to have dinner with him. Jesus went out of his way to spend time to eat with a group of people whom society rejected. In the same way, Jesus left Heaven and came down, not only to dine with us but also to die for us. He has done everything to find us.
Loving God, thank You for coming to find us with Your love. Please reveal your love and peace to my friends.
Depending on where you are in the world, you may not be able to invite loved ones to church. But church was never a building, but the people of God. Therefore, in what ways can we leave our comfort zone and imitate Jesus by reaching out to them?
Note down any thoughts you have had as a result of your reading of scripture, reflection and prayer.