CLB Commentary – Dr. Eugene Boe
Luke starts off this passage with Jesus as the one who draws tax collectors and sinners. What was it about Jesus that would draw such people? They had a need to hear what Jesus had to say and Jesus would say to them what they needed to hear. Jesus was there for them! He did not despise such sinners. He did not establish criteria that they had to meet in order to come to him. They were welcome to come with all their sin and sins. Such a reception of sinners was met by the severe criticism of those who saw themselves as not belonging to such a lot as these sinners. What was it about these critics that would cause them to render such a judgment about Jesus? Do we have a similar attitude about the lost?
What kind of word is needed for such critics? Jesus personally addresses them by saying, “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” This is exactly what Jesus is doing. He has come for the one who is lost and separated from the flock. He seeks until he finds it. What a heartless judgment they have made about the one who is there for the lost! Jesus not only seeks until he finds but he puts the lost sheep on his shoulder and carries it back to the fold. The return of the lost sheep is a time for rejoicing.
Just who does such a lost sheep represent? I am the lost sheep. You are the lost sheep. The Bible tells us that we have gone astray. We have gone our own way. We have been separated from the flock. Jesus, the good shepherd, who lays down his life for the sheep, has come for the lost.
Jesus intensifies the point he is making by the second parable about the lost coin. A coin has no way of getting itself back to the other coins. It can only be returned by someone seeking for it until it is found. So helpless are sinners. There is no hope for sinners to find their way back. Someone must seek them and find them. Jesus is the one sent to find sinners.
As we have been found by Jesus, do we express our gratefulness for what he has done for us by joining in the mission of going after the lost sheep?