In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! Luke 15:7 (NLT)
What were you thinking? It’s a question my mother liked to ask when in her eyes I’d done something that made no sense.
What was Jesus thinking when he came as a baby, lived life as an ordinary man then stepped into his public ministry calling all men to him?
Off The Deep End
His brothers thought he’d gone off the deep end. And the Pharisees, who recognized that he was indeed a powerful teacher, saw him hanging out with tax collectors and other undesirables. A career ending move that made no sense to them, and they did not hesitate to point it out, because after all, they were the wise leaders in this part of the world.
All Jesus was thinking is that the sinners needed saving. He didn’t have far to look to find a sinner. He was surrounded by them everywhere he went. Some of the folks, like the tax collectors, knew there was sin in their lives and welcomed a man who promised a way out of the trap of seeking after money, which came with its own set of problems.
Blinded By The Rules
But the Pharisee’s couldn’t see it. They were the rule followers. They thought they had it made on the pathway to the kingdom of heaven. Jesus knew otherwise, and even though the religious leaders saw themselves as the educated men of the day, he tried to break the news using a story, a way to sneak up on the truth and face it head-on.
Maybe you see yourself as one of the ninety-nine. It’s tempting, isn’t it? Well, let me tell you before we were one of the ninety-nine we were the one who had strayed. We’ve all been there, we all struggle daily not to go there again. This message might have been couched in terms of one who needed saving, but the message here really is we are all that one!
And that’s what he was thinking, looking forward to the joy of wrapping each ‘one’ in his arms as the ninety-nine look on and welcoming them to his home, because all along, each ‘one’ already had his heart. This was the joy set before him.And that’s what he was thinking, looking forward to the joy of wrapping each ‘one’ in his arms. #steepedintheword #averseaweek #memorizetheword Click To Tweet
Looking Further at This Week’s Verse
- Think back on life before you were the one who prompted the rejoicing when you repented. How did life feel?
- Do you think remembering the ‘before’ can help us relate to those who have not yet joined the pen of sheep who recognized their shepherd?
- How does it feel to know that you are the ‘one’ the one he loved, the one he saved, the one he wants to spend forever with?
- How can you share your saving shepherd with the ninety-nine this season?
- Are you willing to be a part of saving the one even when what you have to do makes no sense to those around you?
Father, thank you for seeing me and deeming me worth saving. I don’t want to sit smugly by and look down at those who still need you. I want to wade into humanity just like you did, making friends with the folks who still don’t quite get what you did for them. I want to share you rather than point fingers and criticize the lives of those who know no better.
I know it’s tempting to think that everyone in our media-saturated world knows you, but really so few do. Many only know the God of rules that are impossible to follow, much like those Pharisees. Fewer know the God who did the unthinkable, risk the approval of the brothers he surely loved and just waded into messy lives with the hope of plucking those lives from the fire. Give me opportunities to just wade into the messy, and give me the courage to go without hesitation. I know that today I’m numbered with the ninety-nine and I rejoice in that. But, don’t ever let me forget where I came from.