By J.R. Miller
"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep--and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?" Luke 15:4
Nothing is more wonderful in the Good Shepherd, than His care for His lost sheep. It might be worth while, we would say, for Him to care for a whole flock that wanders away and is lost--a flock is valuable. But it is the loss of only one sheep--which makes its appeal to the heart of the Good Shepherd. Does He really miss one among so many? Does Christ really care when somewhere on the earth, one of His sheep is wandering in the dark ways of sin? Did any mother ever have so many
children that if one of them wandered from home--she would not miss it? It would not be love in the Good Shepherd, if He did not miss the one that strayed from His fold.
The seeking of the sheep by the shepherd--is a wonderful illustration of the divine love. He leaves the ninety-nine that are safe--and goes away in search of the one poor, silly sheep which has left the shelter of the fold. The story suggests pain and discomfort, danger and suffering, as the shepherd goes to the desert and treads on over rough ways, up steep mountains, through dark gorges--looking for His lost sheep. His heart is in His quest. He does not weary in it.
But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through,
Before He found His sheep that was lost!
"Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way,
That mark out the mountain's track?"
"They were shed for one who had gone astray
Before the Shepherd could bring him back!"
All this is wonderfully heart-moving, as the story of an oriental shepherd seeking his straying sheep. But that is not all that is in the story. The Master would not have recited the beautiful story merely to tell the people about a common shepherd. It would not have been put into the Gospels among heavenly revealings, if that were all. Christ Himself is the Good Shepherd, and what He tells us in His parable is how He seeks His lost sheep! Not one ever strays away from Him--and is allowed to go on unmissed, unsought. No one on the earth may care, and no one may seek to bring back and save the imperilled one. But always Christ cares and seeks--until He finds!