Lost but now found
Read Matt. 18:12-14; Luke 15:4-7. This parable about the lost sheep is the most appealing story to children. They can visualize a wandering sheep, they can see the concern and love of the shepherd. And of course, the joy when the shepherd and sheep were reunited. It is obvious that the focus of the parable is not on the 99, but on the one wandering sheep. It does not mean that the 99 were left unprotected. Common sense tells us that.
Both of these parables have different applications, due to the different historical settings. In Matthew’s account Jesus asked: “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus used children like a ‘visual aid’ to bring a point and said “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt.18:3). And also warned them not to lead “these little ones who believe in me to sin (18:6). It is in this context that Jesus told the parable about the lost sheep and applied it to the children, “in the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.” In Luke’s account, Jesus listeners were tax collectors and sinners; and the teachers of the law. The Pharisees were not happy about it because Jesus welcomed and ate with sinners. So Jesus gave this parable about the lost sheep and pointedly concluded, “I tell you, in the same way, there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over the 99 righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
When I was a teenager, I was totally lost, no meaning in life, no purpose, no perspective of eternal destiny, and I was always scared to die. I was a wandering sheep in our little town, always mucking around. I was a real pain to my parents. Then one Sunday afternoon, I saw this group of young people from church and one of them a teenage girl about 13/14 years invited me to come to church. I heard the Gospel once again, and I committed my life to Christ. The rest is history. I can still picture those people who were so happy and continued to pray for me in my early days as a “babe in Christ.” To name a few, (all of them are now promoted to glory): Mrs Basteriche, Mrs Dipus, Mrs Tulio, Mrs. Milagros Santos, Dra. Garcia. I remember two men who prayed after Sunday School, Engr. Santos (husband of Mrs Santos), and Engr. Bingco, bro.Nelson, Mr. Tulio and Pastor and Mrs Bulnes. There were more. I heard that these people had prayed for me in the Church services and particularly during the prayer meetings. We also know that most of those who came to the prayer meeting were women. That is why I remember them. I praise God for them. God used someone as a bridge to bring me to God. As the hymn Amazing Grace rings, “I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.” Last Sunday was the 25th anniversary of our Church here in Darwin, but it was also the 56th anniversary of my conversion to Christ. That was the best decision I have ever made in my life. I have nothing to boast, but glory in the grace of God. All by grace and by grace alone and I will continue singing throughout eternity the amazing grace of God.