The Parable of the lost Sheep Part 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
He has a deep sympathy for each stray heart. He knows the sorrow that sin brings, and the broken spirit that will come after a while; so Jesus grieves over each lost sheep, for He knows the misery that goes along with being lost. I can relate to this only in part, because I have experienced having a child lost, and I will never forget the anxiety that my wife and I felt. I recall that we called the police and her friends because we had to find her or our hearts would break. I can still see my wife’s torment. She was completely overcome with worry until she got word of her child.
So I can understand just a little bit of how Jesus feels for one whom He loves, who is carved on the palms of His hands, which He looked upon through His foreknowledge from the cross as His blood flowed from His hands and side; He has no rest in His spirit until His beloved is found. He has the compassion of God, and that is greater than the compassion of parents. This one thought has the focus of the Lords pity-“I cannot lose one of them.”
The man in the parable, had a third relation with the sheep, which caused him to be obsessed by the thought that it may be lost,-he was a shepherd to it. It was his own sheep, and so he says to himself, “If I lose one of them, then I am not a very good shepherd.” It is a dishonor to any shepherd to lose one of his sheep. Either he doesn’t have the power to keep it, or he doesn’t have the desire to keep it; but neither of these can be associated with the Good Shepherd. Our Lord Jesus will never have it said of Him that He has lost one of his people, for He glories in having preserved them all. “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost ...” The devil will never be able to say that Jesus allowed one of those whom the Father gave Him to perish.
He will achieve the purpose that He meant to achieve by his death, for He is Eternal, Infinite and Sovereign God, and who will stop Him or spoil His plans. He will not have it! Just imagine the consequences if He was to lose just one of them. What ridicule would come from Satan. If He lost just the weakest, they would say, “He can only keep the strongest, but they are able to keep themselves.” Suppose He lost the strongest; then they would say, “He is not even able to keep the mightiest ones, and He just lets them perish.” It is not the will of God that one of these little ones shall perish, and it is not the will of Christ that one of His own sheep should be eternally lost.
Our first point was that the shepherd had only one thought. And now we come to our second point, which is that there is one object of the search.
Now, make a note that it is a specific search. He is looking for one particular sheep and nothing else; and he has that one individual sheep in his mind’s eye. It is his own sheep that he is seeking and he goes specifically after that one. Jesus knows all about His redeemed, and He goes definitely after each individual soul; His search doesn’t take Him all over the place, and He doesn’t grab just any soul that passes by. By His power, He subdues the will and conquerors the hearts of those He identifies.
I believe the man in the parable sought after a distinct individual, and that he did not rest until he found him; so does Our Lord, for He does not move with any uncertainty; he does not grope about to catch just anyone, as if He played Blind man's bluff with salvation, but He seeks and saves the one of His own sheep which He has His eye upon as it wanders through the wilderness. Jesus knows what He means to do, and He will get the job done.
Now, notice that this is an all-absorbing search. He is thinking of nothing but His own lost sheep. The 90 and 9 are left in safety, but they are left, just the same. When we read that he leaves them in the wilderness, we are apt to think of some barren place; but that is not what is intended: it simply means the open pasture land, or prairie: he leaves them well provided for, and where they are safe. His mind is focused on finding the lost sheep and nothing else, so he is not concerned about the rough path he must walk up and down the mountain sides, and he doesn’t fear the deep chasms. His only fear is that his sheep might parish. It is wonderful to think of the Lord Jesus Christ with His heart so set upon the rescue of a soul, which at this moment is lost to Him.
It is also an active search, because he goes after the one that is lost until he finds it, and he searches personally for it. And if there is ever a sinner who is lead to receive God’s grace it is not through a minister or child of God working alone, but it is by the Master Himself, who goes after His own sheep. It is wonderful to think of Him still personally tracking sinners, who though they run from him, nevertheless they are still pursued by him-pursued by the Son of God-pursued by Him until He finds them.
Now notice the perseverance of the search: “until he find it.” He does not stop until he has done the deed. So how long should you and I seek after a soul? Why, until we find it since that is the example set by Our Lord.
Now we have come to the third point, which is that there is only one burden of love. When the seeking is over, then comes the saving-“When he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” It is an uplifting action, raising the fallen one from where he has strayed. He takes the sheep, just as he finds him, without a word of reprimand, without any hesitation, and lifts it out of danger into a place of safety. Do you remember when the Lord lifted you up from the horrible pit? When He came from above, and saved you, and became your strength? I think about that day often. What a wonderful moment it was when the Great Shepherd lifted me into newness of life. The Lord said to Israel, “I bear you on eagles’ wings;” but it is even better to be supported on the shoulders of God’s Son.