1 Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. 2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them! 3 So Jesus told them this story: 4 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. 6 When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!
S - Scripture
2 - This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!
O - Observation
This parable is about the nature of God. We see God loving all humanity - not just church people. Jesus associates and shares a meal with sinful people. Sharing a meal was an act of relational intimacy and remains that way today. Joy exists in heaven with the reconciliation of a lost person being found. The Greek word for for repentance in verse 7 is μετάνοια which means to turn 180 degrees. The person who embraces repentance moves from hate to love, tragedy to comedy, and sin to grace. God's desire is to move all people toward him, much like any parent wants a restored and flourishing relationship with their children.
A - Application
As a pastor I spend much of my time around people already in the church. All of my staff and leaders are obviously in the church. Jesus was committed to the church, but he also was committed to those not in the church. The application here is to invest more of my time and energy in people who are disenfranchised from the church or don't consider church an option. Not just from time to time or in ways that are convenient for me, but regularly and in ways that meet people where they are. As a pastor the priority is also to create a community of people who are willing to engage other people in their spheres of influence who are not part of the church. A local church engaging people in their culture and teaching biblical repentance is beautiful thing.
P - Prayer
Lord, I live in a world that is broken and needy. I too am broken and needy. I repent of my sins: the things I have done and the things I have left undone. The poor choices I have made and the steps I didn't take. Break my heart for people who are alone, for people who are hurting, for people who are distant from you, and for people who need direction. Create a culture in our church where all of us take seriously and find joy in seeking and offering your salvation to people in our community. God, I thank you for never giving up on me. Amen.