This parable of the lost sheep is a great story that talks about God’s love for his children.
Jesus teaches about the story of these lost sheep to remind us of the unending love God has for us.
There is nothing better than continuing to learn about God through his Word. This time we will talk about the parable of the lost sheep, or black sheep as many of us call it. This message is found in Matthew Chapter 18.
Here Jesus had just been questioned about who would be the ones who would enter the Kingdom of Heaven first and he had told them that children because they have a pure heart and know how to genuinely love and forgive. They have an automatic pass to Heaven. In fact, he advised them to try to imitate children in these two things so that they could earn a place in the heavenly abode as well.
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Then the parable of the lost sheep follows. Here Jesus explains to us the great joy that God feels in his heart to see that a sheep that strays returns to the flock. Give the example of a man or shepherd who rejoices in finding the lost sheep. He says he rejoices more over this one than over the 99 more who didn’t go astray.
This does not mean that God does not care that we are doing the right things and everything that He likes, of course, He enjoys seeing us walk on the right path. But God, like every earthly father, is concerned when he sees that one of his children is wrong and that he is suffering. If a child becomes ill of course we do everything possible to take care of him, or if he is in other types of problems, we will always try to help him even though what is happening is a consequence of his bad decisions.
If we see that our children learn their lesson and decide to take the right path again, of course, we feel complete, as we saw in the parable of the prodigal son. Likewise, the Lord feels an ineffable and glorious joy when one of his children who was lost is found, because for this he sent his own son to die for all of us. In verse 11 he tells us: “For the Son of Man has come to save what was lost.”
Jesus came to heal the sick, to revive the dead, and to save those who live in sin. We must always remember this because only in this way will we be able to develop that mercy and compassion that God asks us to practice with our neighbor. We must pray without ceasing for all those lost souls who have not received that peace that only God can give them and who seek to fill the voids in their hearts with the wrong things. We have all strayed from the path or we can go astray and I am sure that there was someone who prayed for us or who will pray for us when we need them.
Then comes another very important topic in this same Chapter 18 of Matthew, which is subtitled “how to forgive your brother.” Here he first tells us how important it is to confront a person, call him a friend or brother when they are doing something wrong. In fact, the true friend is the one who will tell you when you are wrong and not the one who will applaud everything you do. He says that if after talking to him and making him see his mistake, the person listens to you and understands you, then you have won a brother. But if he does not listen to you, you can go with one or two other people who will serve as witnesses. If you still ignore it, it is appropriate that you go with more members of the church.
Then he tells us something that is extremely important and that we must believe with all our hearts. As children of God, we have the authority to bind things on earth that will be bound in heaven and loosen things that will also be loosed in Heaven. In verse 19 he tells us: “I tell you again that if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father who is in heaven.”
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God very clearly explains to us in his Word that we must unite in prayer because in truth He is there listening to what we ask of Him, we only have to exercise that authority that He has already given us. Let’s not stop joining in prayer with our brothers because that is when the Holy Spirit descends in an incredible way and all those requests rise like fresh incense to Heaven. The effective prayer of the righteous can do much (James 5:16).
In verse 20 he reiterates this to us and says: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” What a blessing to know that God is there pending our requests and that he will grant us what we ask for.
At the end of Chapter 18, Peter asks Jesus if it is necessary to forgive those who offend us up to seven times, and Jesus answers that we must forgive them up to seventy times seven. Let us continue practicing that love that God asks of us and that Jesus came to model for us and let us forgive those who offend us as many times as necessary. Let us never stop praying for others and even more so for those who have gone astray.