During His ministry, Jesus frequently challenged conventional wisdom, and He also encouraged His followers to radically demonstrate God’s love. He often did this through the use of parables. Jesus used these short stories to relay important instructions and lessons in ordinary language. There are more than 30 parables in the Bible, each with its own dynamic lesson.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep is a short but powerful parable told by Jesus to illustrate the love and compassion that God has for every person. The parable is found in the Gospels of both Matthew and Luke. Jesus told the story in response to criticism by the religious leaders for “eating with sinners.” They were offended that Jesus would associate with these types of people. Jesus turns towards the crowd and tells the story of how a shepherd left his flock of 99 sheep to go find one lost sheep.

Luke 15:3-7: “Then Jesus told them this parable: 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? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

This parable explains how God is seeking out his lost children and rejoicing when they are found. The heart of God is like a parent searching for a lost child. If a child is lost or separated from a parent, who wouldn’t go to extreme measures to find their lost child? Most parents would leave everything behind to search for their child who had wandered off. This parable paints the picture of the type of love God has for us. That is why God is often referred to as The Good Shepherd.

The parable of the lost sheep teaches us how we should love others regardless of how they look or act. We have been called to love and care for all people. Search for and love the lost sheep. This is what God is calling us to do.

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.