The Responsible Shepherd: Matthew 18:12-14
““12) What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? 13) If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. 14) So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.” Matthew‬ ‭18‬:‭12‬-‭14‬ ‭
This parable seems to be connected to the little children from the previous two paragraphs. It is the story of a Shepherd who has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray. He leaves the ninety-nine and goes in search of the one that is straying.
Look carefully, this story is about the Responsible Shepherd and not the irresponsible sheep that strayed off. I cannot verify this, but it was most likely not a good thing for a shepherd to report on his resume that he had a tendency toward loosing sheep entrusted to his care.
The resume of Jesus as a Shepherd is recorded in John 10:27-29 and John 17:12. Of those that belonged to His Father, Jesus guarded them and lost none… except the Son of Perdition. Judas was never of the Fathers fold. Jesus has a perfect resume!
Let’s face it, sheep have a tendency toward straying. That’s why they either need pens or must be under the constant watch of an alert shepherd. Sheep can be trained to hear the shepherds voice, but even then some wander off.
Sheep are basically defenseless. They are easy prey for nearly any predator. Were it not for the care of a skillful shepherd, sheep would be a buffet meal for a bear, pack of wolves, lions or coyotes. Unlike the gazelle, they cannot flea fast or far in the face of danger. Worse yet, they are likely oblivious to pending danger. Even eagles have feasted on their share of young lambs.
Jesus made it clear in this text, that the responsible shepherd goes after straying sheep. He watches over His own. Matthew 18:14 says, “Thus it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.”
This verse is meant for the comfort of His sheep, but also as a warning to predators. Those who prey on His sheep will discover the wrath side of the nature of God. According to Matthew 18:5-6, those who receive and care for children are blessed, but any who cause even one child to stumble will encounter the wrath of God.
God has a way of providing for orphans and widows. (See Psalm 146:9 & James 1:27) He blesses those who help provide for them! I would strongly encourage you to consider sponsoring a child through GoServ Global. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee a day you can help change the life of a child. (Seriously, I’m not exaggerating!) Call our office for details or look us up on the Web. We are in need of more sponsors.
On a personal note; I am so thankful that Jesus has been watching over me all of these years. I listen for His voice and sincerely try to follow Him, but He has reeled me in numerous times when I have strayed. I am confident there have been many more times that His guardians angels have protected me from evil or dangers that I was totally oblivious about. (See Matthew 18:10 & Hebrews 1:14)
I praise and honor and credit Jesus for His active care, provision and protection in my life. Even on my best days, I am still a needy sheep that is totally dependent on my Good and Responsible Shepherd. I resonate with David in Psalm 23:1; “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want!”
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global