“For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” Matthew 18:11 KJV
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Luke 19:10 NLT
Parable of the Lost Sheep
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:12-14 NLT
My Thoughts: I guess you noticed right away that I kicked off today’s Word with a King James Version of verse 11, then I dropped back into our more conversational NLT Bible version for the remaining verses. Well, there is a reason for that!
Some newer versions of the Bible (NIV, ESV, NLT) saw verse 11 as more of a footnote, or a copyist’s attempt to make the book of Matthew match, or agree, with the same wording in the book of Luke (that verse also included). So, they eliminated verse 11 from the translation.
We are keeping the verse intact because (1) it is truth, and (2) it is a great segue (to me) for our next verses about the Parable of the Lost Sheep!
However, before we jump into these verses in Matthew, I’d like to share Psalm 23:1:
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need.” Psalm 23:1 NLT
Last week I finished a study by Jennifer Rothschild called “Psalm 23 The Shepherd with Me.” As I read our verses in Matthew today, this study comes back to my mind because they seem interwoven.
My favorite word out of this verse would be “is.” Oh, how the Lord has tended to my heart through this word! The word “is” having strong connotation in this verse denotes an affirmation or truth. There is no misunderstanding about what the author (David) of this verse wants to communicate: The Lord is my Shepherd. Following that statement, he adds that because the Lord “is” his shepherd, “I have all that I need.”
For me the word “is” also implies surrender. Now, I know as women this is not a popular word, especially in today’s world where women are constantly fighting for equality. However, for me, I can think of nothing better than to surrender to my shepherd, Jesus Christ. Why? Because just like the lost sheep in Matthew, He also came and got me when I was lost!
If you read my testimony, you could argue that I wasn’t really lost because I knowingly and willingly ran away from the herd, and you would be partly right. You see, I had a skewed version of who the shepherd was and what he could do for me. (Personal Testimony Part 1 and Part 2) Worse than that, I didn’t really see myself as defenseless, nor did I understand there was danger in being alone. But God tells us:
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 NLT
However, just like those sheep, I needed a Shepherd to not only guard me from predators, I also needed a Shepherd to guide me!
Definition of shepherd: to guide or guard
Definition of a sheep: a timid defenseless creature
Characteristics of a sheep:
- Timid, fearful, easily panicked.
- Dumb, stupid, gullible.
- Stampede easily, vulnerable to mob psychology.
- Little or no means of self-defense; can only run.
- Easily killed by enemies.
Some of the characteristics for sheep are not very flattering, so it’s tempting to shy away from comparing yourself to a sheep. However, what I’ve learned since I accepted and submitted to the Lord is my Shepherd, I’m a much happier and less fearful woman!
Furthermore, we are assured in our verses today that should we wander away from the herd:
“Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?” Matthew 18:12b NLT
Are you lost? Have you come to a place in your life where you know a change is needed but you aren’t sure where to go? Maybe it’s time to say ‘yes’ to the Shepherd and surrender your heart and life to Him? He’s waiting for you, you know. In fact, we learn there is a celebration just waiting to happen when you surrender your heart to Jesus.
[When He finds you], I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over [you] more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away!” Matthew 18:13 NLT (Words in brackets are mine.)
It is His heart’s desire for none of His flock to perish to the roaring lion who is waiting to devour lost sheep:
“In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:14 NLT
He loves you. He wants you. No matter what “sheepish” thing you have done!
Closing Prayer: Father God, thank you for the comfort of these words today that remind us how much you love us. You not only gave Jesus, your only son, in exchange for our lives, but you come to find us when we are lost. What amazing grace! Father I ask if there are lost sheep who are reading this today, they surrender their hearts to you so they can be found and placed into everlasting life. Thank you for your guidance and protection, Lord, and I pray you lead the sheep I pray for every day into the safety of your herd too. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen
(Note: for guidance to surrender your heart to Jesus, please refer back to my previous blog Matthew 18:7-10)