This is the parable that Jesus posed to his disciples about half-way through his response to their question of who the biggest deal in the kingdom of heaven was. It’s apparent that Jesus was intent on making his point. In verse 12 he begins the parable of the lost sheep. All of them are where they’re supposed to be but one who is lost.
Lost can be many things. Here, though, Jesus is talking about a shepherd who is missing one of his sheep. Our pastors are often referred to as shepherds. The parallel here is unmistakable. Jesus is the shepherd of all. This parable can lend itself to more than one inference.
“Which sheep do you want to be? The one that is in the back of the pasture or the one that is in the shepherd’s arms?” asked Pastor Josh. He also said, “Stay where you’re supposed to be. Be an honest Christian.”
Then Pastor Josh related the story of Elijah (I Kings 19) when Jezebel threatened to kill him. He ran for his life, thought there was no one left in God’s corner but him and wanted to die. Or, the story of Jonah who objected to warning the Ninevites of their evil ways and wound up in the belly of a fish (Jonah 1-2). God, the shepherd, found them when they went astray.
Now to modern days. Don’t the same things happen. Really good people who go to church suddenly exit. They’re there and then, they’re not. Like Jesus said, “What think ye?” The ninety-nine are still where they’re supposed to be. But for whatever reason, the one has been led astray. For sure, the devil has a hand in it and works tirelessly. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”