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? Matthew 18:12. (Read Matthew 18:11-14.)
In the parable of the shepherd seeking for the lost sheep is a representation of the tender patience, perseverance, and great love of God. As we contemplate the unselfish love of God, our hearts well up with gratitude, praise, and thanksgiving. We praise Him for the priceless gift of His only begotten Son. There is no animal so helpless and bewildered as is the sheep that has strayed away from the fold. If the wanderer is not sought for by the compassionate shepherd, it will never find its way back to the fold. The shepherd must take it in his arms himself, and bear it to the fold….
The Pharisees were ready to accuse and condemn Jesus because He did not, like themselves, repulse and condemn the publicans and sinners…. They thought that the law would justify them, and they would not consider the compassion and mercy that Jesus presented in His lessons as necessary to be brought into their practical life…. Christ never invited the wicked to come to Him to be saved in their sins, but to be saved from their sins….
Christ did not ordain the plan of salvation for any one people or nation. He said: “I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” …
Let every desponding, distrustful soul take courage, even though that individual may have done wickedly…. You are not to think that perhaps God will pardon your transgressions and permit you to approach into His presence, but you are to remember that it is God who has made the first advance, that He has come forth to seek you while you were still in rebellion against Him….
If the ardor and enthusiasm encouraged as necessary to the success of attaining worldly things is not commendable in seeking the salvation of the lost, which has a twofold object—to bless and to make us a blessing—what is? Through conversion we are personally placed in vital connection with Jesus Christ, who is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.—Signs of the Times, January 22, 1894.