“So He told them this parable: “What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it? When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep! ’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don’t need repentance.”
Jesus ususlly taught using parables, especially when He was speaking to crowds who weren’t necessarily Christ followers. Remember, a parable was a story about ordinary people doing ordinary things, but with a message that has eternal significance!
So, Jesus tells the story of a common shepherd who had lost a sheep. The man leaves the 99 remaining sheep in a safe place-an open field where he could see and protect them from preditors and in a pack. He goes to the perimeter to look for the lost sheep. I’m sure he stooped to look in bushes, behind rocks, in crevices–any place a lost sheep could wonder to or fall into. His concern is not for the 99 compliant sheep but for the 1, free spirited sheep! The solitary sheep is valuable to him and he’s determined to locate and rescue it!
So, at last the shepherd finds the lost sheep! He returns to the fold in the field carrying the sheep on his shoulders. He celebrates finding the lost sheep and encourages others to celebrate with him. He cleans it up, patches it up and returns it to its rightful place within the fold! The shepherd NEVER GIVES UP on the lost sheep!
Then Jesus said something that should grab ALL of our attention: “I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don’t need repentance.” Now this is the little “twist” in the story, or at least in how its interpreted!
The obvious is that heaven rejoices over one (anyone) thats returned from being lost more than it does over those who have remained in the fold. The only problem is that this makes the 99 seem less valuable than the lost. I believe Jesus is meaning EXACTLY what’s stated here! Jesus says there’s “more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don’t need repentance.” Only a sinner can repent and only a sinner can be saved. To repent means to “turn away from” or to “turn towards”. Sadly, many whoJesus talked to were busy trying to keep the Old Testament Law in order to obtain righteousness by works. Jesus is saying that someone who is righteous on their own– more aware of their own righteousness than their own sin–this person cannot repent or be saved because they’re convinced they’re okay.
The fact is that “ALL have sinned and fall short of God’s glory”. (Rom 3:23) Sadly not all realize their need for a Savior and those people never repent.
One sure way of measuring our own righteousness is to come into God’s Presence. Such and encounter will bring an accure awareness of one’s own sinfulness (See Isaiah 6:5, John 3:1-21)
So heaven rejoices-it literally throws a party over the repentant sinner. My advise, goodness doesn’t produce enough cuddos to warrant heaven’s attention, repentance does. Stop trying so hard to be good for God and tell Him about the sin that ensnares you
By the way, ALL OF US HAVE SOME. Tell Jesus of your heartbreaks and secret thoughts. Be truthful BUT TURN TO HIM. Heaven will rejoice and your “goodness” will be an outflow of His Presence in your life!
Think about it!