THE LOST SHEEP – DECEMBER 7TH THURSDAY (Mt 18: 12-14)
1. It is worth a moment’s time to note that the sheep referred to here and elsewhere are not the fat-tailed, generally lazy sheep often represented in romantic Bible illustrations. The sheep intended by the Gospel reference were not of the Arabian fat-tailed type but perhaps of an intermediate breed with small fat tails. The sheep of that time were probably more active than their modern Palestinian counterparts.
2. The Son of man came to save that which was lost. His great love was not merely a general love for sinful humanity as a mass, it was an individual love for each perishing soul. The love of God is all- embracing in its extent and fullness, perfect and complete in its individual affection.
3. In Ezekiel 34, the Shepherds of Israel are criticized ‘the strayed you have not brought back (34:6) God promises to secure as the shepherd. ‘I will seek the lost and I will bring back the strayed (34: 15-16)
4. The sheep is attracted by something out ‘in the wilderness. What the sheep sees is more attractive and appealing. It tempts and seduces it. It is aimless. The sheep does not know it is losing its way. It refuses to heed the warnings of the shepherd and the example of the other sheep. It is not attached enough to the shepherd or to other sheep. It does not think the shepherd will take care and see that there is satisfying food.
5. The lost sheep was sought. The shepherd left ninety-nine to seek the one lost sheep. It was the one that needed to be sought. It was this sheep that needed the attention of the shepherd and was to occupy the time, energy and effort of the shepherd. When he found the sheep, he embraced the sheep and carried it over his shoulders.
The experience of being lost is a terrible thing that could happen to anyone. Nobody loses one’s way purposely but it could happen due to our lack of prudence and carelessness. We can take risks in certain places where there are no dangers even if we get lost, but certain places could be very dangerous not merely to body but also to our souls. It is better to be with the fold than to take unhealthy risks. If we feel that we are lost totally, we can always shout out Lord’s name. The Lord who desperately searches his lost sheep will surely come for rescue and will restore our lost hope.