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. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. – Matthew 18.11-14
There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold
But one was out on the hills away
Far off from the gates of gold
So Andrew Peterson begins his wonderful song based on this passage of scripture. I think we all know the setting. A shepherd has one hundred sheep. When evening comes he counts them as they enter the fold 96, 97, 98, 99…
“Where is the 100th?’ His worker says ‘you have 99 boss, don’t worry about the 100th.’
"This of mine has wandered far from me
And though the road be rough and steep
I go to the desert to find my sheep”
This is how Peterson records what happens next. The shepherd could not leave even one of His sheep in danger. So he goes out and finds one.
Jesus makes it clear that He illustrating the importance of every single one of His sheep. It is not His will that any should perish. Jesus, as our Great Shepherd, cares about the one.
Every soul out there is important to Him. Every one, no matter their skin colour or nationality or religion or social standing or political views or how nice they look or if they are our friends or our enemies, is important to Him and He wants us to be about gathering them in.
Whoever you see today, no matter what, remember that they are important to Jesus and He desires for them to enter His fold.