Verse of the Day Devotion: Luke 15:7 

“I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” – Luke 15:7

At the beginning of chapter 15, we see many people coming to Jesus to listen to Him.  “Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him.” Luke 15:1.  There were many Jews around Him who took offense, for this was contrary to the ideas of the scribes and Pharisees who would not give any of these the time of day.  So they murmured loudly, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” Luke 5:2b.  You can sense the disgust in their wording.  So Jesus, having heard their words, tells them a parable. 

What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” Luke 15:4.  The tax collectors and the ones designated ‘sinners’ were of Jewish descent.  The Jewish nation was frequently represented as a flock of sheep.  “You led Your people like a flock By the hand of Moses and Aaron.” Psalm 77:20.  Therefore, Jesus is saying that these tax collectors and sinners are part of the flock of Israel, just as the scribes and pharisees are, and He was going out to bring them home.  This is what any shepherd would do when a sheep is lost.  Each sheep is as important as any of the others.  And Jesus says He rejoices when He brings him home.  “When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!”  Luke 15:5-6.  When the shepherd finds the lost sheep, he carries him home rejoicing as he does, them he calls his friends and neighbors to celebrate with him.

This shows how important a single sheep is to the shepherd.  And this is also a great picture of how important we are to our shepherd as well.  Jesus here, in our focus verse, says the following.  “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7.  Finding a valuable lost object is always a time of celebration.  And the more valuable that object is, the greater the celebration.  This shows the value God places on a lost person, for there is greater joy over a repentant sinner than over those who do not need repentance for they are already in the flock.  He does rejoice over all, but for those who come home, the rejoicing is greater for a lost sheep has come home.

When we became saved by accepting the work Jesus did on the cross, there was much rejoicing in Heaven, celebrating another sheep has come home. For gentiles, we are grafted in and are part of the flock as well.  We are all that important to God and to all who are there.  God wants everyone to be saved.  “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9.  And this is why we are sent out to spread the good news of Christ to all.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20. 

By leading others to Christ, and showing them how to live that life, we cause a great celebration in Heaven that has no rival here on earth.  Let’s all go out and give Heaven many, many reasons to celebrate.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

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