Since the Pandemic has occurred, we have a bible lesson each Sunday in our home. Below are the notes for our bible lesson in the morning.
Luke 15 New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus.
2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 Then Jesus told them this parable:
4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders
6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’
7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
There are around 37 to 40 parables in the three first gospel books in the New Testament. The Gospel of Luke contains both the largest number of parables (24) and the most unique parables (18) which are not repeated in the other gospels.
A parable is a short story that illustrates a universal truth. A parable sketches a setting, describes an action and then shows the results. In the parable of the Lost Sheep, the reader learns that each person is precious to God.
Why does the Shepherd put the sheep on his shoulders and go home?
Because that’s what a Good Shepherd does. He carries.
The survival instincts of sheep mirror those of humans. We stick together. We follow each other, even if it’s sometimes not the wisest thing to do. We walk a winding path and watch for predators. If threatened, our need to flee overrides all other survival instincts. In fleeing, sometimes we get lost.
Jesus is hanging with people of dubious character. The Pharisees (such sticklers about rules) do not approve. Through this parable Jesus gently tells them: “Look, we have some highly agitated people here. They had to flee because they were threatened. The rest of you have safety in numbers, so I’m not going to worry about you for a while. I’ll try to get these people back with us so we can celebrate walking the winding path together.”
What has a lost sheep experienced?
Jesus says in John 10:10 I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Have life more abundantly. He doesn’t want us to live in fear, or sadness. He wants our life to be full of color and laughter and he wants to us to with each other just like the 99 sheep were together. We weren’t meant to be an island unto ourselves.
No man is an island. No one is self-sufficient; everyone relies on others. This saying comes from a sermon by the seventeenth-century English author John Donne. John Donne was an English scholar, poet, soldier and secretary born into a Catholic family, a remnant of the Catholic Revival, who reluctantly became a cleric in the Church of England. He was Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in London (1621-1631)
No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. Olde English Version No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee. MEDITATION XVII Devotions upon Emergent Occasions John Donne
Jesus came for those who needed him. He came for the sick, for the lost, for those afraid.
When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I camenot to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
I have always had this idea from a young age that there were two sides in everything. Them against Us. Me against Them. The ‘it’ crowd and the Outsiders. The Greasers against the Socials. Good vs. Evil. Jedi vs. Sith. However the paradox is that this CoronaVirus Pandemic has created this new idea to me. We are all on the same playing field. We are all in this thing called Life together. No man is an island unto himself. WE are all sheep gone astray.
Isaiah 53:6 King James Version (KJV)
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
There is no discrimination. This virus will go against anyone with no care of
Creed (a system of Christian or other religious belief; a faith.)
We all are just sheep needing a home. We all at one time or another this year have felt helpless and in need of a Savior, a Shepherd. We have all grieved and cried and felt alone. And in this time of crisis we feel threatened. Now more than ever we need a Great Big God to just reach down and find us.
I can’t help but turn to King David’s words and try to find solace in his suffering during this scary time.
Psalm 13 may be the very deepest of all the pits of life David endured. In this Psalm David is all alone and momentarily felt that even God had left him.
In Psalm 13 David asks, “How long will I have sorrow in my heart daily? Hear me, O Lord. I trust in your mercy. My heart rejoices in your Salvation. I will sing unto the Lord.” Psalms 13 may have been the scariest time of his life. David may have felt like he was in the darkest cave of his life.
Here in this psalm David was in a cave, not unlike Elijah who in I Kings 19:11-13 was also hiding for his life in a cave praying to die.
1 Kings 19 New King James Version (NKJV)
Elijah Escapes from Jezebel
19 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” 3 And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.
4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”
5 Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. 7 And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” 8 So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.
9 And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 So he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”
God’s Revelation to Elijah
11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
13 So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
This time right now may be the hardest, scariest moment you have ever experienced in your life and like David and Elijah, you too may feel cut off from the rest of the world, all alone. In these moments, choose to be still and listen for a still, small, gentle voice. HIS voice. You are not alone. We together are not alone. Jesus has no rival. No equal. He will be our Savior.
The voice of the Lord that found Elijah was not a booming voice. It was still, small and kind-gentle as the voice of a Shepherd to his sheep would be. Elijah, David and the Lost Sheep did not need and we today do not need a booming voice scaring us further into hiding, rather each one of us needed, needs and will forever need that soft touch of an angel, a Shepherd, Jesus, God in flesh. Softly, tenderly the Master is calling. Allow him to carry you from the cave you are in back out into the sunshine and back to the fold of sheep where together we are safe.