Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
– Luke 15:1-7 NASB
The nature of a daily devotional from the Bible like the one we are doing is that each day a verse or passage is chosen on which to meditate. A minor downside to this approach is that the chosen verses and passages aren’t usually read in their natural order and flow. Once in while it’s helpful to meditate on passages in their natural order. Therefore, today and for the following three days we’re going to focus on the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. You’ll see that there’s a natural delineation of this chapter into four sections such that each day’s meditation will seem complete unto itself.
In this first section of Luke 15, Luke is telling us the differing effects Jesus had on people. The fact that sinners were attracted to Jesus prompted the religious leaders to condemn Him for the “bad company” He was keeping. Jesus, therefore, told this parable to demonstrate that the religious leaders had a bad attitude.
A good shepherd seeks to find his lost sheep. He knows how many sheep he has, so if the number doesn’t add up, he goes searching for the ones that are missing. And when the shepherd finds the lost sheep, it is cause for rejoicing – not “grumbling.” The religious leaders were thus demonstrating that they weren’t righteous at all.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, help me to always see myself as a sinner in need of repentance. Help me to rejoice when sinners repent and not get puffed up when I see someone I think is more sinful than I am…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.