Luke 15:5 “When He has found it, He lays it on His shoulders, rejoicing”
In Luke 15:1-2, we read that there was a large group coming near to listen to Jesus. Many of these that crowded to hear Him speak were deemed “sinners” by those in their community. The Pharisees disdained these. Isn’t it just like our Lord then, to share three parables in Luke 15 that show God’s interest in these people and the magnitude of His love? This is another example of His love everlasting for us, sinners!
He begins to describe the scenario in which a shepherd has 100 sheep, yet one is lost from the group. It’s interesting to note, that in this chapter of Luke, the “lost-ness” of man is emphasized eight times. Jesus shows us (through His examples) that man can unknowingly be lost from God or knowingly, as the Pharisees “who need no repentance” as seen in verse 7. Enveloped in the outward appearance and behavior of man, versus the heart, the Pharisees often times missed the point of Jesus’ parables entirely.
We see the shepherd leave the 99 to seek out the one that was lost and when the shepherd finds it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing! What a beautiful picture! If you’ve ever wondered if you matter to the Shepherd, think on this parable! He goes to any length to find the one lost, doesn’t chew it out verbally when it is found, doesn’t drag it back home. But, carries it on his shoulders.
Jesus furthers this point by his next illustration of how there “will be more joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance”.
This may seem like a fairly straight-forward, simple to comprehend parable, at first glance. However, if you read through this and fully allow that to translate into our relationship with a loving Father, it becomes mind boggling.
We have wandered, and are prone to wander. Yet every time, the shepherd has come and will come looking for us. Even though I’m certain the sheep could not respond to the shepherd when he found it. This is an interesting show of repentance on the sheep’s part, as the shepherd is able to carry the lamb home on his shoulders. The lamb would not be able to be flailing about on the shepherd’s shoulders, but calmly lying there, allowing the shepherd to take him back home.
It is likewise interesting to read this same concept, but in Matthew 18:12-14, in relation to the lost. The part in particular that stands out is in verse 13 where he “rejoices over it more than the over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray.” Why does that stand out? Because it shows the will of a sinner, broken and seeing their need for repentance and allowing the shepherd to lovingly put it up on his shoulders and take him back home; there is a changed heart. Stick closely to the shepherd! As reflected in Psalm 23, we can see that the shepherd (a picture of the Father) has gone before us because of His great love, has and will continue to provide everything we need!
Knowing that God has sought you out, are you flailing about, fighting the shepherd attempting to take you back home with him or are you praying for a repentant and changed heart that solely wants to stick near to the Shepherd?