Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, 'This Man receives sinners and eats with them.' So He spoke this parable to them, saying: 'What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?'
I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.
Who is this beloved lost sheep? Why does all of Heaven celebrate its return? What about the ninety-nine nice sheep left in the wilderness? How does this scripture apply to actors, models, and talent for Christ? Consider...
The 'lost sheep' as a pilgrim: a child of God who is 'a traveler or wanderer' (Random House Dictionary). This wanderer leaves God's protection. 'For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it' (Matthew 7:13). God wants this sheep safe.
The 'lost sheep' as a prisoner: a child of God who 'is deprived of liberty or kept in restraint; a prisoner of war' (Random House Dictionary). What war? The war with Satan, the war with sin, the war Jesus won. Without Him, a willful or ignorant sinner is taken hostage. God wants this sheep free.
The 'lost sheep' as a prodigal: a child of God 'who spends lavishly or squanders money' (World English Dictionary). A prodigal forgets money's rightful purpose and righteous Owner. A prodigal is surrounded by greedy people who feed from his inheritance. God wants this sheep home.
The 'lost sheep' as a prostitute: a child of God 'who willingly uses his or her talent or ability in a base and unworthy way, usually for money' (Random House Dictionary). A prostitute cheapens the gifts and talents of God, harming both seller and buyer. God wants this sheep properly valued.
The 'lost sheep' as a profiteer. In Jesus' day, he might be a tax collector: a child of God 'considered a traitor who became wealthy by collaborating with Roman authorities at the expense of his own people' (Christian Resource Institute). A profiteer is smart. God wants this sheep working for Him.
So why does Jesus love pilgrims, prisoners, prodigals, prostitutes, and profiteers so much?
'I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance' (Luke 5:32).
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Lost Sheep series.