He counted them once, then he counted them again. He knew he had a hundred sheep but he could only count ninety-nine. So he counted again and yes, one was lost. It was just one sheep, but these were his sheep. He knew each one by name and knew each one by sight. Now most of them are safe, but one was lost.
Ninety-nine sheep are safe. Only one is missing. Outside it is cold and dark. The wolves are howling. It is dangerous to go out. Some shepherds would say, “ I have ninety-nine that are safe, I won’t concern myself with the one that is lost.” But not the Good Shepherd. He knows his sheep by name and his heart trembles for the one that is lost .
Carrying a rod for protection and a staff to rescue his sheep, he goes out into the cold dangerous darkness. He searches until he finds his lost sheep. Cast into the briars and brambles, the frightened sheep is torn and bloodied. Using his staff the shepherd draws the lost one to safety. Anointing him with oil and binding his wounds the shepherd now sings with joy because he has found the one that was lost.
Jesus, my Lord, is the Good Shepherd. Many of His children are safe in the fold. But some have wandered away. Maybe you have been cast into the briars and brambles of addiction. Or maybe you are just confused, stumbling around in the darkness, endangered by the worldly wolves. But Jesus, the Lover of your soul, is heartbroken because you are not safe. He longs to once again hold the one who is lost.
Listen to my words all who are sick and lonely, afraid of the dangerous darkness that surrounds you. The Savior is calling out your name if you will just be still and listen. The Holy Spirit is the rod that will protect you and the staff that will rescue you. Jesus is the Seeker of the one that is lost. He will draw you close, bind your wounds, and anoint you with healing oil.
Trust in this promise from Ezekiel 34:15-16; “I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord GOD. “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick .”
Jesus asked His disciples this question, “Who do men say that I am?” His followers replied by telling Him about the many different opinions people had about Him. He then asked, “But who do you say that I am?” It was Peter, the bold one, who spoke up and said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus told Peter, “Peter you are blessed, you know this because you listen to God and not man.”
From religion to religion today, there are many different opinions about who Jesus is. Unfortunately, this is also true inside most mainstream Christian churches. Whether in Baptist, Methodist or any other denomination, from pew to pew you will find that people have different thoughts about who Jesus is. This has come about because so many preachers are writing sermons to please men instead of delivering messages that are inspired by the Holy Spirit.
The truth about Jesus is not found in the social and prosperity gospels that false prophets preach. The truth about Jesus was seen when He took a basin of water and washed the feet of His disciples. The truth about Jesus was revealed when they nailed Him to the cross and He said to the man with the hammer, “ I forgive you”. The truth about Jesus saturates an empty tomb because He is not there, He is risen and now He sits at the right hand of the Father. The ultimate truth about Jesus was given to us when we were commanded to “Take up your cross and follow Him.”
Who is Jesus to you? Do you know him as the only begotten Son of God. Do you recognize Him as the second person of the Holy Trinity? Do you believe that He is the only hope of salvation? Who is Jesus? He is the one who can take your addiction and toss it as far away as the East is from the west. He is the one who can wash away your sin, and then toss the dirty wash water into the sea of forgetfulness. He is the maker of all things, the Savior of all men and the giver of all life. That is who my Jesus is.
I remember once when I was a teenager, my daddy and I where deer hunting in the area of Oglethorpe County called Goosepond. My daddy had gone in one direction towards his stand and I went another way toward mine.
As I was going to my stand I jumped a deer. When the deer ran, I followed it. The deer never ran far, and although I never had a clear shot at it, every few yards I would catch a glimpse of it. All evening I followed that deer, with it staying just close enough to keep me interested in the hunt.
Now, here’s the problem; while I was concentrating on following the deer I was not paying attention to where I was going. All of a sudden I realize that I had been following that deer for several hours and now it is getting dark. But where am I? Which way do I go to get back to my daddy? I was lost! I was separated from my daddy and did not know how to get back to him.
Ok, you see the problem, and you probably know where I am going with this. You see the world has ways of separating us from our Heavenly Father. There are things that capture our attention and they beguile us into following after them. They may not be bad things; they are just things that take our focus of God. We start following after these things and all of a sudden we realize that we have not heard from God in a while. Now it’s dark and we don’t know how to get back to our Father. And it is dangerous to wander around in the dark.
OK, back to the deer hunt. I was lost and I really wanted my daddy. What did I do? Well I called out for him. He was a long ways off, but he heard me and he answered me. We continued to call back and forth until I found my way back to him. To this day I can still remember the sound of my daddy’s voice as he called out to me in the dark.
What do you do when the world draws you away from The Heavenly Father? What do you do when it is dark and you don’t know how to get back to Him? Well you call out to Him. You can be sure that He will hear and He will answer your call. In Psalms 141:1 we read; “LORD, I cry out to You; Make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You.”
Look, if you find yourself separated from God and it is dark just keep calling out to Him and He will keep answering you. You will never forget the sound of His voice as it leads you home.