“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?” (Matthew 18:12).

The shepherd felt at home with his faithful flock; they had not gone astray, and they gathered about him, and he fed them and took pleasure in them. There is always a great deal to do with sheep: they have many diseases, many weaknesses, many needs. But when you have an attached, affectionate flock about you, you feel at home with them. So, the great Shepherd describes Himself as leaving the ninety and nine, His choice flock, the sheep that had fellowship with Him, and He with them. He leaves those in whom He could take pleasure to seek one that gave Him pain.

Please remember that He left the paradise above and all the joy of His Father’s house and came to this bleak world. It was a wonderful descent when He came from beyond the stars to dwell on this obscure globe to redeem the sons of men. But remember, also, He still continually comes by His Spirit. His errands of mercy are perpetual. The Spirit of God moves His ministers, who are Christ’s representatives, to forgo the feeding of the gathered flock and to seek the salvation of the wandering ones.

The Master’s heart is full of care for all who love Him. He wears their names engraved in the jewels of His breastplate, but yet His heart is always going forth far after those who have not been brought to Him and after those who were once in His fold but have gone astray and left the flock. Our Lord leaves the happy and the holy and gives His best thoughts to the lost. He goes out to seek them in a marching forth of power. No dark ravine or high place can daunt His mighty love. What difficulties He conquered, what suffering He endured, what mountains He climbed, that He might seek and save us! Oh, that the Holy Spirit may put such a spirit within us!

Adapted from In His Presence