“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”
Today’s verse passage is part of the Lord’s response to the religious leaders of His day who found fault with Him. Specifically, they were scandalized that the Lord would welcome sinners into His presence to hear His teachings. It is ironic in the extreme that the so-called experts in religious matters could be so ignorant of what pleases the Lord and what causes rejoicing in heaven. The Lord had to explain to these people that sinners are very much like people contending with a crippling disease. The Bible draws the similarity between the two afflictions in numerous places (eg. Isaiah 1:4-6). The Lord explained, “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17). God is well pleased with sinners who repent and find salvation. This is because when knees bend in humble submission to the Lordship of Christ, God the Father is glorified (Philippians 2:10-11). Secondly, God loves the world of fallen humanity far too much than to leave them in their wretched condition. Nowhere do we read that God is pleased with the condemnation of sinners. We read just the opposite in fact. God asks, “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23). Christ explained that “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17). Paul declared that God wills that all be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), and Peter was very clear on the matter, explaining that God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The Lord Himself stated that the Lake of Fire, the final abode of the damned, was not created for man, but rather for Satan and his angels (Matthew 25:41). Our personal God has a mind, will, and emotions, and as a matter of fact, the salvation of lost sinners pleases Him greatly. The Lord Jesus’ teachings on this fill the entire fifteenth chapter of Luke’s Gospel. May the knowledge of God’s heart on the matter not only fill us with renewed love and gratitude for the Savior who loved us first, but for the lost world He came to save.
God bless you,