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The Problem with Luke 15/The Lost Sheep 072512
The story of Luke 15 is a familiar one; if the shepherd has 100 sheep and loses one, he will go off and search for the lost sheep rather than stay and protect the herd.
In a way, it never made sense to me—why risk 99 sheep for possibly losing one? The safer choice is to stay with the 99 and make sure no more are lost.
Conversely, it’s a warm and caring tale, because the shepherd, Jesus. cares so much for the lost sheep, potentially me or you, that he will come and find us and celebrate that we are found. That feels good! and I usually focus on this rather than the illogic of risking 99 sheep to recover one, but yet it is this illogic that ensured that I was found or that you were found. Personally, I like the version where the 1 percent sheep is missed and found.
But there’s still one question with this passage and I’ll not avoid it. In Luke 15 Jesus says: 7Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
I don’t know any of them 99 righteous persons who need no repentance. In fact, I’ve never met one, including myself. Just sayin’, this was Jesus talking and he talks as if they were a common occurrence—a righteous person here, a righteous person there. Maybe Jesus was talking correctly however, because as soon as people were around him, they were righteous, even if only momentarily.
Pray for peace today, especially in Syria, a land of early Christians and Christian communities.
Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).
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2 Samuel 5:1-12
1Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
2Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.
3Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.
5For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
2 Samuel 5:1-12
5Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and said, “Look, we are your bone and flesh. 2For some time, while Saul was king over us, it was you who led out Israel and brought it in. The Lord said to you: It is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over Israel.” 3So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. 4David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. 5At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.
6The king and his men marched to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, “You will not come in here, even the blind and the lame will turn you back” —thinking, “David cannot come in here.” 7Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion, which is now the city of David. 8David had said on that day, “Whoever would strike down the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack the lame and the blind, those whom David hates.” Therefore it is said, “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.” 9David occupied the stronghold, and named it the city of David. David built the city all around from the Millo inwards. 10And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.
11King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar trees, and carpenters and masons who built David a house. 12David then perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.
15Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3So he told them this parable: 4“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? 5When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- The Sheep That Was Lost (joshharris.com)
- Lost Sheep (resources.wcrossing.org)
- Sunday (July 22): “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” (shechina.wordpress.com)
- Joy in Heaven (carlgobelman.wordpress.com)