September 9th, 2021 – Matthew 18:10

Verse of the Day Devotion  Matthew 18:10  See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you, that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of My Father who is in heaven. 

Today we will look at the Parable of the Lost Sheep.   Here is this parable as found in Matthew’s gospel.

See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you, that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of My Father who is in heaven. “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?  “And if it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray.  Thus, it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.” Matthew 18:10-14. 

This is an interesting parable for it addresses a situation that many of us have not learned to address properly.  The first sentence in this parable says, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you, that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 18:10.  The Greek word translated despise has the idea of looking down upon or scorning, as well as disregarding them  so as not to be around.  John Wesley put it this way. “We must be careful to receive and not to offend, the weaker  believers in Christ: for as inconsiderable as some of these may appear to be, the very angels of God have a peculiar charge over them: even those of the highest order, who continually appear at the throne of the Most High.”

Now, when we come to verse twelve we read, “What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?” Matthew 18:12.  This rhetorical question implies an affirmative response in the Greek: of course, that is the way one would act.  Jesus tells them that the shepherd in this story, being a ‘good shepherd’, would go after a lost sheep, leaving the other ninety-nine to find the one.  The straying sheep is a believer, one of these little ones, who wanders away from consistent obedience as well as intimate fellowship with God.  Now, the leaving of the ninety-nine does not assume they are left unprotected, for other shepherds would probably help them out.

In the next two verses, He expresses the reason for this. “And if it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray.  Thus, it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.” Matthew 18:13-14.  God does not will for anyone to perish.  “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. Many look at this verse regarding only the unsaved. However, this speaks of all, including those who are weak and walk away. “Thus, it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.” Matthew 18:14.

Jesus said to His disciples go out into all the world.  “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. Yes, we are called to spread the gospel to the lost, but we are also called to teach and strengthen those who are followers of Christ. We should never avoid any opportunity to help Christians, especially those who are new and/or weak in their faith. And if we see them beginning to shy away from the Church and ultimately God Himself, we need to go to them and encourage them to stay true to the ways of Christ and help them in areas where they are weak or are questioning Christianity itself.  And if we can turn them around, we can rejoice with God that they have come back to Christ and given up their sins and/or doubts.  For remember, it is the will of God that all of His sheep will stay true and not perish and fall away.

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

To see previous devotions, simply click Additional Resources then under Verse of the Day Devotion Archive, select the desired year.  You can also search by verse once you click the year.  There are other resources available for you to look through as well, one deserving of our respect and obedience.  

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