|Posted on November 14, 2017 at 8:20 PM|
Day 12 #bahaiblogging
Because I've blogged about sheep and several friends liked that, let's talk about one of the parables about sheep. In Matthew 18 (12-14) Jesus tells this parable:
"What do you think? If someone owns a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go look for the one that went astray? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that one of these little ones be lost." (New English Translation)
Luke tells it a little more personally. "So Jesus told them this parable: “Which one of you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go look for the one that is lost until he finds it? Then when he has found it, he places it on his shoulders, rejoicing. Returning home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, telling them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost.’ I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent." (Luke 15:3-7 - New English Translation)
In Matthew's version this parable is told shortly after the disciples of Jesus were asking Him who is the 'greatest' in the kingdom of heaven. So one way to look at this parable is as a warning for us 'righteous' believers in Jesus to be humble, and not to think of ourselves as being better, or more 'deserving' persons than other people who we feel are not living right with God.
Matthew verses 5 and 6 tell us what we should do instead of worrying about how high a place is being reserved for us in heaven. Verse 5 says "And whoever welcomes a child like this in my name welcomes me." Verse 6 says: “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a huge millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the open sea."
Is there a sheep or 'child' in your life? Maybe someone who doesn't seem to be getting with the program when it comes to doing the Will of the Lord? The Baha'i Writings give some great advice on how to guide someone like this.
"If ye be aware of a certain truth, if ye possess a jewel, of which others are deprived, share it with them in a language of utmost kindliness and good-will." (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 289)
Luke's version of the parable of the lost sheep is set in a different context than is Matthew's. In verses 1 and 2 of Luke 15 we read: "Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming to hear him. But the Pharisees and the experts in the law were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”"
So according to Luke, it was the Pharisees and experts in the law, not the disciples themselves, whom Jesus was addressing with the parable. Luke's version of the parable continues on with a similar parable about a woman who had ten silver coins and lost one of them. I'd like to think Jesus used the parable of the coins in order to reach the minds and hearts of the tax collectors, who probably weren't feeling moved by talk of sheep!
In both gospels, the message is pretty clear. This is no time for believers in God the Father, and/or in Jesus (I include myself in that category) to rest on their laurels. The fact that you are a believer only means you have a responsibility to show love and compassion to those who for whatever reason at all are living outside of the safety of the community of believers.
May you find something you have lost today, and may you give it away to someone who needs it.
Categories: Spiritual Themes