Parable of the Lost Sheep.
^C Luke XV.3-7.
^c 3 And he spake unto them this parable [Jesus had spoken this parable before. See pp.434, 435.] saying, 4 What man of you [man is emphatic; it is made so to convey the meaning that if man would so act, how much more would God so act], having an hundred sheep [a large flock], and having lost one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness [the place of pasture, and hence the proper place to leave them], and go after that which is lost, until he find it? [The ninety-nine represent the Jewish respectability, and the lost sheep stands for a soul which has departed from that respectability.] 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. [A touch suggesting the weakness of the sheep and the willing affection of the shepherd.] 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me [Heb. xii.2], for I have found my sheep which was lost. [The call implies that the loss was known to the neighbors, and that they felt concerned about it. Had the Pharisees been neighbors to the spirit of Christ, they would have sympathized with him in his joy; but they were false undershepherds -- Ezek. xxxiv.] 7 I say unto you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance. [How little Jesus thought of external morality may be seen by his words at Luke xviii.9, but he here quoted the Pharisees at their own valuation to show that even when so doing, God's love for the sinner was the paramount love.]