Lessons Of A Lifetime

SUNDAY DEC. 26, 2021

Scripture To Consider:
“Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Jesus. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, ‘This Man receives sinners and eats with them.’”

“So Jesus 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? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing, and when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!” I say to you that likewise there will be much joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.’

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15.1-10

Something To Consider:
These few parables were told by Jesus after some religious leaders had found fault with Him receiving and eating with sinners. The parable of the lost sheep was looked at from Matthew’s gospel in an earlier lesson. In both accounts the number one hundred was used. One hundred was a coveted number of sheep that an owner would strive to acquire and maintain in that culture.

Losing just one sheep would cause a good shepherd to become a seeker of that lost sheep. The seeker of the lost sheep in this parable is a pastoral picture pointing to Jesus Christ, our good shepherd savior, who was and still is willing to go to any length to seek and to rescue His sheep. What if so-called religious leaders today were as concerned as Jesus over the lost sheep of their pasture?

Jesus proclaimed in John 10.11; “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” A few verses later Jesus added; “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep and am known by My own.” Do we truly know Jesus? That is indeed what these lessons of a lifetime seek to accomplish.

In attempting to accomplish that goal, we might want to hear what Jesus affirms concerning religious leaders who are not as concerned for the lost as He is. In between the two above quoted verses of Jesus, He acknowledged; “But a hireling [a well-paid pretender], he who is not the shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.”

That is a futuristic end time picture of the so-called church and the havoc that will be created by the revelation of the Antichrist. The sheep will realize they have been lied to and that the hirelings were more interested in a paycheck than in seeking lost sheep. And when the financial illegal but required tithes begin to dry up, the hirelings will flee to the provision of the one world system and the mark of the beast.

Something Else To Consider:
Isaiah the prophet of Israel wrote in Isaiah 53.6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, everyone, to his [or her] own way; and the LORD [God Jehovah] has laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all.” Jesus not only died for us and our iniquity, but He seeks us whether lost sheep or lost religious leaders who have lost their way as well, in order that He reveal to us the true good news of His salvation through our forgiveness.

Ezekiel, another prophet of Israel, speaking on behalf of God to Israel in Ezekiel chapter 34, warned the irresponsible self-seeking imposter pretending religious shepherds of every generation, by declaring; “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away.” Jesus is our seeking shepherd savior who was promised by God the Father and sent to seek and to save any of His sheep that were lost or spitefully driven away by hirelings posing as shepherds.

Jesus is our true seeker of lost sheep, of whom we all have benefited from His being a true seeking shepherd savior. Jesus made known in John 10.17-18, “Therefore, My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life [for the sheep] that I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” And there is no greater love than a person willing to lay down their life for another!

Having just celebrated Christmas, what is it that comes to mind concerning the birth of Jesus? Is it that His birth was in accordance with the fulfilling of prophetic Scripture? Or was it the fact that His life and sacrificial atoning death was also in accordance with the fulfilling of prophetic Scripture? Without the birth of Jesus there could be no laying down of His life. How willing are we to lay down our lives at the foot of His cross, in order to take up our own cross?

Something More To Consider:
Married women in the historical time of Jesus in Israel, wore a ten-coin necklace usually around their forehead. This head-dress was of similar value to that of a wedding ring today. If just one of the coins were to become lost, the entire house was swept in an attempt to find the missing coin. And when it was found the women would declare, according to Jesus; “Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost.”

In both parables much rejoicing took place at a sheep, or a coin being found, just as in heaven great rejoicing takes place over just one sinner who repents. The apostle Peter who knew of the great love and forgiveness of God, wrote in 2 Peter 3.9; “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering towards us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

As we approach another new year, has heaven rejoiced over us as sinners who have truly repented? For we must keep in mind that sin, any sin, last week’s sin, last month’s sin, and last year’s sin, separates us from God and from His glory. Therefore, is heaven in need of rejoicing over us? If so, what might we be waiting for? “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

A Few Final Words:
Jesus was and is a seeker of lost sheep. He is desirous of our being found when lost in our sin. There is no better, more qualified, more concerned seeking shepherd savior in all the world. Let us make sure this new 2022 year begins with a clean blood washed slate in the schoolhouse classroom of the Holy Spirit.

True repentance of just one sinner, brings about true rejoicing of angels in heaven, and still the need for more rejoicing in heaven is an ever present and welcomed need. For according to Jesus, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Our Father in heaven, thank You for seeking us lost sheep of Your pasture. Teach us to rejoice over the salvation of all who repent. In Him Always, Amen!

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