Jesus Feeding the 5,000

A daily devotion for May 3rd

God and the Unthinking

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? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep. 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.

Luke 15:3-7

There is something unusual about sheep. Unlike other animals they do not often deliberately run away. A dog who wants to be free, given a chance, will leave, just like that. But sheep do not. They only wander away. They do not mean to. This is the picture our Lord gives us of certain people who do not intend to get lost; they do not intend to waste their lives. They do not intend to wander off into something dangerous and destructive. But, little by little, concentrating only on the present, they wander away. Eventually they wake up to realize that they are lost, that life is suddenly empty, that their hearts are burdened and heavy with guilt — and they do not know how it happened. They are not happy to be lost; they hate it. They long to belong. There are millions like this today. Some are poor and obscure. Some are intent on simply making a living, on feeding themselves. Some are rich and prominent. All over this country, people are suffering from destination sickness, i.e. the sickness of those who have already arrived at their destination, who have all they want; but they discover that they do not want anything they have.

Notice the shepherd's response. He left the ninety and nine in the wilderness and went after the one. That pictures the activity of God, as expressed in the person of the Lord Jesus himself. He left something to come and find us. As Paul states it so wonderfully in the letter to the Philippians, he did not count the fact that he was equal with God a thing to be held on to, but instead emptied himself, took upon himself the form of a servant, and was found in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:6-7). He left, and he came.

Finally, notice the rejoicing over the recovery of the lost. This reveals the value that God sets his sights on lost men and women. They are not worthless in his sight. They are made in his image and are of unspeakable value to God. They bear his own image, marred and ruined as that image may be, and he longs to find them and reach them and restore them.

Thank you, heavenly Father, for this glimpse into your own heart, for the knowledge of your concern for those who are lost.

Life Application

Do I feel the same compassion as the God who longs to reach the lost? Am I involving myself in the great enterprise of God to find these people?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

God and the Unthinking

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