|Posted by kelvinbueckert on February 3, 2019 at 3:20 PM|
Today we are going to look at two scriptures, words of Jesus as He taught folks then and now, how to deal with a particular problem. First let’s identify that problem. We see a description of a man and a sheep, both going astray. It was a favourite them in Jesus’ sermons. John records: “All this I have told you that you will not go astray” (16:1). Why was this important to Jesus? He tells us…”The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
Sheep stray very easily so they make a good illustration. In Bible times shepherding required groups of men employed full-time to care for the sheep, leading them into safe places where they would find the richest grasses and plenty of water, as well as protecting them from predators. Shepherds today use specially trained dogs to round them up when they are going off the beaten track, and even have access to electronic devices as aids to keeping their sheep safe.
Jesus provides a word picture that has inspired famous paintings as well as musical compositions. In a flock of one hundred sheep one gets lost, wandering away. The shepherd will not rest until He finds it, bringing it home on His shoulders (Luke 15:5), where He calls friends and neighbours to celebrate the safe return of one lost sheep!
Jesus paints another word picture of a lost human being, one known as the Prodigal son. It seems the young man had no intention of returning home when he demanded his inheritance from his father prematurely. It was all about himself and his comfort and happiness. Surprisingly the Father gave him all that he demanded. He didn’t cling to his son, bargaining with him on behalf of the family business or to avoid hurting his mother’s feelings, or any of the other things with which we try to prevent painful change. He let him go.
Did this father know the Good Shepherd would bring his son home safely? We are not told. We do know that God effected a change in the young man’s heart. “He came to his senses”. This is the only solution to a straying child of God. The Good Shepherd loves His sheep much more than we do and is able to do abundantly more than we can ask or even imagine! (Ephesians 3:20). When his son returned the father’s joy was complete! He hadn’t forced it but had left it up to God, to whom all the glory went for bringing his son to his senses. Hallelujah!
Who is responsible for bringing the lost sheep home?
Why do we act as if significant change depends on us?
How do we face these tests of faith?