Leave the 99 Sheep for One?

Leave the 99 Sheep for One? October 19, 2011

I don’t know what it’s like to herd sheep, and I certainly don’t fully understand what it means to lose one.  But for the crowd around Jesus that day in Capernaum, they understood exactly what it meant to lose something so significant as a sheep.

I wonder if Jesus were to revise his parables for today’s crowd if he would say something like “If a person goes to Walmart and buys 10 bags of groceries, would he not leave the 9 in his car to go back to get the 1 bag that was left with the cashier.”

Part of me asks if the shepherd should just count his losses.  I mean 99 out of 100 is pretty good.  But I did some research on the cost of a sheep and it helped put it into perspective.  In today’s dollars, a sheep could run anywhere from $100 to $250 or more.  Multiply that by 100 sheep and that shepherd could be looking at $25,000 in his pasture.  Losing one sheep would feel like a few days wages, so you bet that shepherd is going to look for that sheep.

Jesus is trying to make the point that our lives are much more valuable than the life of a sheep.  In the same way that a shepherd would spend hours rescuing a sheep, God wants to save each one of us from sin.  Don’t you like how Jesus uses these kinds of examples to relay how much God loves us?

Have you read this parable in Matthew 18:10 lately?  What did you get out of it?  Share with us in the comments below.

Here’s the parable if you haven’t read it in a while:

The Parable of the Wandering Sheep

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. [11]

12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

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