True Meaning of Parable of the Lost Sheep

By Xiaoran

In the past, I particularly liked reading the parable of the lost sheep told by the Lord Jesus. He said: “How think you? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, does he not leave the ninety and nine, and goes into the mountains, and seeks that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, truly I say to you, he rejoices more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:12-14). Every time I read this passage, I was especially moved and thought that the Lord Jesus’ love for mankind was too great. God wouldn’t forsake any of His sheep as long as it was His. But I didn’t understand or comprehend the Lord Jesus’ intention of saying the words in the end: “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” It wasn’t until I read God’s words afterward that I had a deep understanding of the Lord Jesus’ intention in saying these words.

God says: “Let’s take another look at the last sentence in this passage: ‘Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.’ Was this the Lord Jesus’ own words, or the words of His Father in heaven? On the surface, it looks like it’s the Lord Jesus who is speaking, but His will represents the will of God Himself, which is why He said: ‘Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.’ People at that time only acknowledged the Father in heaven as God, and this person that they saw in front of their eyes was merely sent by Him, and He could not represent the Father in heaven. That’s why the Lord Jesus had to say that as well, so that they could really feel God’s will for mankind, and feel the authenticity and the accuracy of what He said. Even though this was a simple thing to say, it was very caring and it revealed the Lord Jesus’ humility and hiddenness. No matter whether God became flesh or He worked in the spiritual realm, He knew the human heart best, and best understood what people needed, knew what people worried about, and what confused them, so He added this one line.”

After reading God’s words, I came to understand that so profound is the significance of the words that the Lord Jesus said at that time. When the Lord Jesus worked, even though many believers believed in and followed Him, they did not have much real knowledge that He is the Christ in the Flesh and God Himself. They couldn’t even fully acknowledge that the Lord Jesus is the God in heaven. Just as what Philip said to the Lord Jesus, recorded in the Bible, “Lord, show us the Father, and it suffises us” (John 14:8). So, the Lord Jesus at that time was fully aware of everyone’s thought and confusion, and moreover their needs. Thus, in order that people could know and understand Him, after saying the parable of the lost sheep, the Lord Jesus specially added this line: “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” Just exactly as God said: “When He said this, it was actually to tell people: You can rest assured—this doesn’t represent what’s in My own heart, but it is the will of the God who is in your hearts.” It can be seen that only when the Lord Jesus added this line could it achieve the desired effect at the time. Otherwise, it was difficult for people to acknowledge and accept the Lord Jesus’ words are exactly God’s words and His will. We can see God’s wisdom, loveliness, humbleness, and hiddenness through the words of the Lord Jesus. As God works and speaks, He never coerces people or stands up high. When people can’t accept the Christ is God, God says in another way, which is suitable for people to take in. He considers people in all aspects. Furthermore, from the way of God’s speaking, it can be seen that no matter how foolish and ignorant we are, God would rather change a way of speaking and add this one line than condemn us. As long as we can appreciate His true intentions in His words, accept what He says, and truly believe in Him and follow Him, this is enough for Him.

At this time, I also understood the true meaning of what the Lord Jesus said to Philip: “Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? he that has seen me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father? Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak to you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works” (John 14:9-10). In fact, at that time, the Lord Jesus had spoken out that His identity is the Father in heaven, that is, God Himself. However, the people at the time didn’t know His identity. As in their eyes, the Lord Jesus they saw was just the Son of man, an ordinary person outwardly, having no difference from others. So they couldn’t recognize that what the Lord Jesus said fully represented the Father in heaven and was the personal utterance of the Spirit of God in the flesh. Thus, under these circumstances, the Lord Jesus said such words, which made people better able to accept and believe His words, and to feel that His words represented God’s will.

Besides, I realized God’s love and expectations toward people from the line said by God. God incarnate comes to earth to work and save mankind. Under the cover of His normal humanity, people don’t know Him. They are filled with conceptions, imaginations, and even doubts about God. Yet God does not give up saving mankind because of their attitude toward Him. Rather, He gets them to sense His love little by little through His words, from which mankind can know what God has and is as well as His inherent identity and position. The Lord Jesus expected all His followers could know Him, recognizing God’s essence from the words and work of the flesh worn by God among mankind rather than the incarnate flesh of God from His appearance. They should know the utterance of the Christ in the flesh is that of God Himself, and identify that the Son of man living among man is God Himself. Such people are the ones God hopes to see and gain. Now, do you have any brand-new and deeper knowledge of the intentions behind the Lord Jesus’ words: “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish”?

 


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