Lord Jesus, You are the faithful, tender Good Shepherd, Who tirelessly searches for Your lost sheep. You bring each of us back to the fold with a determined heart to have us know how personally and uniquely You love us as You call us each by the name You have given us.
Each of us meets Your gaze, and each of us responds; we yield to You, or we run again. If we run, You pursue. If we yield, You wrap us in Your cloak and carry us home where Your wisdom and love strengthen us and keep us close.
But who are “the ninety-nine,” those You leave behind in search of the one? Are they a flock of perfection? Far from it.
Your Word tells us that the sheep still on the mountain are one big fold of those lost-and-found and that the only way they became part of the fold in the first place is through the Shepherd’s rescue. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way.” (Isaiah 53:6) Who, then, are the ninety-nine? They are former strays . . . .all rescued . . . every one.
So, how will the ninety-nine respond to their sister’s return? If they are honest, when they hear You, their Shepherd approaching, they will rush to the gate to welcome and rejoice, recalling the joy of their own trip home on Your shoulders. In humility and gratitude for Your grace and mercy towards them, they will soothe and serve the newcomer with the tenderness and truth You continue to show to them. They will remember their own homecoming and give You fresh praise.
Lord Jesus, thank you for seeking and saving every one of Your sheep. Please grant those not yet in the fold the faith to trust You, and give to those who are awaiting Your return up on the mountain true humility and tender hearts toward all the others You are bringing home.