Lost people matter to God. They matter so much to him that one lost soul found is the grounds for a big celestial party. Please note this observation of the text: if there is rejoicing in the presence of angels over one sinner who repents, then who is doing the rejoicing? God! He is absolutely giddy with joy over a lost person being found. These parables of Jesus are meant primarily to give us a glimpse of God’s own heart. He would do anything to find a lost person, to restore and reconcile a person back to himself. God would go dumpster diving and wade through the stinky nasty garbage to find that one lost valuable person.
Why should reaching others for Jesus Christ be a high priority? Because restoring lost people is a high priority to God. Lost people matter to him. They matter so much to him that he sent his Son, the Lord Jesus, to this earth. Jesus paid the ultimate price of a cruel death on a cross in order to reconcile a broken lost relationship between people and God.
I still remember what it felt like to be separated from God, and estranged from the church – it was lonely and awful, like being in a deep black hole with no way of getting out and no one around to help. But God, in his great mercy, sent people into my life to share the message of salvation with me. In leaving the ninety-nine and going after the one sheep, God gave preferential attention to the lost. Can you live with that? I sure can, because I was once that one lost sheep.
Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd. Thank you for going after me when I was lost. Help me to remember that you will often leave to go after others. I’ll go with you when you do. Let’s take the Spirit with us. Amen.