If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do?
Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?
… when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!
Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it?
And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’
In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.
To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story:
A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’
So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say:
“Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”
“Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening.
We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.”
So the party began.
‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’
But the older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in.
‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends.
Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’
Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours.
We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’
You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!
So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.
And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory.
How will I join the party?