Jesus said to his disciples:
“What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”
It is not out of preference that the shepherd rejoices over a solitary lost sheep’s return, it is that the flock is again made whole. Might the same be true of the chosen people? Did God not rejoice at those lost from that flock’s return. Over time many had been scattered either through battle or faulty leadership or some other misfortune of their history.The thing is though many within Judaism did not seek out those lost sheep of Israel. Samaritans were once part of that flock of Moses, and they became the enemy of Jerusalem.Bringing back those “lost sheep” was reason for Jesus to rejoice, yet the leaders would have had quite a different reaction. The same too is true for those separated from the flock because they were “unclean”, Jesus’s rejoicing was contradictory to the standards of the day. Making whole a sheep flock certainly would have made sense to the disciples of Jesus who were shepherds, yet when it was applied to their culture an almost insurmountable conflict was present. Yet that is what Jesus was to do, to go out and seek the lost and injured so that Gods creation would once again be made whole.Its ironic that many of that time had the opposite approach. To them the better approach was to put a division between their flock and the strays. They balked when he conversed with Samaritans or dined with sinners or healed the cripple. To them the better choice was to stay away from these that strayed.”Whats your opinion?”