Luke 15:3-7 - "And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance."
Yesterday we talked about the little lost sheep. If you missed it, you can find that post here. Today, we are going to talk about the just persons in verse seven of that same text.
Jesus was telling this story. When He illustrates with a story, the Bible calls it a parable. I love parables, and taught that way in school-- with lots of stories and illustrations for the children to help them learn and understand and remember. I figure if Jesus taught me that way, then I should follow His example in my own teaching. You can't go wrong following Jesus' example. Ever!
First let's remember something about the poor little lost sheep from yesterday. The one that the Shepherd left the ninety-nine to go and find. The little lamb that knew she was lost, and was scared and hurt. That little lost sheep recognized her condition. She knew she was lost. She knew that she needed her Shepherd. She wanted Him. That little lost sheep had need of a Saviour.
Jesus was telling us about the lost sheep. But then, in verse seven, He made a jump in the story, and suddenly He wasn't talking about sheep any more. The ninety-nine sheep became ninety-nine just persons, and things just got real interesting.
So who are the ninety and nine just persons, who need no repentance? They must be very good, right? If you go back to the sheep analogy, they were the ones who didn't wander away. They don't need repentance. They aren't lost. Right?
Hmm. But isn't everyone a sinner? Doesn't everyone come short of the glory of God?
Romans 3:23 - "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
How can they not need the Shepherd? How can they not need the Saviour? How can they be called 'just persons'? The word 'just' means behaving in a way that is morally right and fair. How can they do that on their own? How can they be just when we are all sinners and come short?
Isaiah 53:6 - "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him (Jesus) the iniquity of us all."
The answer is staggering and heartbreaking. They are not just in God's eyes, but in their own. They do not see themselves as lost and in need of a Saviour. They think that they are pretty good on their own, and therefore do not have a need as far as justification goes. They see no need of a Saviour in their own lives.
Luke 18:10-14 - "Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other."
The publican got saved. The Pharisee did not. Why? Because the Pharisee saw himself to be just, and didn't see his need. I told you that this was heartbreaking.
And that's the way it is with people. Don't miss the numbers from our original text. One trusted Christ for his redemption. And ninety-nine saw themselves as just, with no need of a Saviour. That doesn't mean they were just. They were not. But that is how they saw themselves, and so why they did not get saved.
Please don't think that those just persons are just folks wandering around in the world with no interest in God. That is not the case. There are some in every church. And in some, the church is filled with them. There are some filling pulpits. The Bible calls them tares. Read Matthew 13:24-30.
Even out of Jesus' original twelve apostles, one was an unsaved 'just' man. Lost and undone after spending three and a half years walking and talking and living with Jesus. I don't understand how a heart can choose that, but the Bible says that it's true. And I have witnessed it with my own eyes, time and time again.
And that is why there is no rejoicing in heaven for the ninety and nine. They are not saved. They will stand in the judgement accountable for their own sin. And they will pay the penalty in a place called hell, because no sin can enter heaven. They needed to be washed in the precious Blood of the Lamb of God, but were not. Sadness.
Matthew 18:14 - "Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."
If you are not saved, see your need and choose the Saviour today. You can see how simple and wonderful that is right here. Trust Jesus today!
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