“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?" (Luke 15:4).
Jesus is speaking here of a sheep that had been in the fold. Clearly, this represents a member of Christ’s flock, one that has been well fed and led by a loving shepherd. Yet this sheep has gotten lost, so the shepherd has gone out looking for it.
Note what Jesus says about the shepherd here: “He goes after the one that is lost until he finds it” God never gives up on anyone who belongs to Him and has gone astray. Instead, He goes out to find that sheep, embraces it and brings it back into the fold.
Simply put, you can go so far into sin that you come to very brink of hell, and He will still pursue you. David testifies, “If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there” (Psalm 139:8).
We have all heard the expression “hell on earth.” That is what life is like for those who run from God. Their “bed in hell” is an awful, terrible condition. It means to be captivated by sin, drifting so far from the Lord that you eventually fall into a lifeless slumber. This slumber is accompanied by a nagging fear that whispers, “You are going deeper and deeper into hell. You may not ever get back to God.”
Christ’s message to us is, “You may have made your bed in hell, but you are not too deep in sin for Me to reach you and receive you with open arms.”
When the shepherd finds the lost, injured sheep, he carries the wounded creature into his house. Then he calls all his friends and neighbors together, exclaiming, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost” (Luke 15:6).
“Likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7).