For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. – Matthew 18.11-13
We live in a day when success is measured by bigness and numbers. While we never want to be content with a lack of growth and progress, it is important that we remember the importance that Jesus puts on the one.
Jesus came to save the lost. We all know that. We also all know the story that follows about the shepherd and the lost sheep. He tells us about a shepherd who had care of 100 sheep. Ninety-nine of them were safe, but one had gone astray. The shepherd could have said, ‘Ah sure, it is only one sheep. I have ninety-nine of them here. I won’t worry about that one.’
But he didn’t. He secured the ninety-nine and went after the one. Jesus often spoke to large crowds but we also see Him talking to the Nicodemus. That makes sense you might say, he was an important official. But He also made a trip through Samaria to talk to the woman at the well. She was certainly no star, but she was worth His time. Philip was sent into the desert just to reach the one Ethiopian eunuch.
They shepherd rejoiced over finding his lost sheep. There is joy in the presence of angels when one sinner comes to repentance.
In a day when success in the ministry is often measured by numbers and buildings and ministries and facilities may we remember the importance of the one.