Every Single Sheep

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Reading the Word

Matthew 18:10–14 (ESV)

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. 12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As in the previous passage (cf. Matthew 18:6), the “little ones” Jesus spoke of here are his followers. One should not look down on Jesus’ disciples, regardless of the disciple’s background, social status, financial status, ethnicity, etc. Jesus mentioned in verse 10 that there are angels that attend such things and who stand before the Father in heaven as both witness and ready to do the Father’s will. We must be careful not to think that this verse means that there is a guardian angel for each individual believer, but the Bible does teach that angels are actively involved in the world (cf. Psalm 34:7).

Jesus used an illustration of a lost sheep to make his point clear. A shepherd who lost one sheep out of one hundred did not just forget about that one lost one. He left the ninety-nine on the mountains where they were safe and searched until he found the lost sheep. When he found it, the shepherd rejoiced. In the same way, the Father does not wish to lose any of his sheep.

As Christians, we must see others as God sees them. Every single person is valuable and loved by the Father. We are told that God loved the world (i.e. all people) so much that he sent his only Son into the world to die for each and every person who would call out for salvation (John 3:16). The Shepherd came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).

As Christ’s followers in the world today, we must also seek those who are lost and not look down on any because we do not think they are worthy. Let us tell the world of the love of the Father who rejoices at the salvation of each and every one who turns to Christ.

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