February 12, 2020

The Greatest Search and Rescue

Luke 15:1–10

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The Parable of the Lost Sheep

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

The Parable of the Lost Coin

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins,1 if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”


[1] 15:8 Greek ten drachmas; a drachma was a Greek coin approximately equal in value to a Roman denarius, worth about a day's wage for a laborer

The Greatest Search and Rescue

Key Verse | Luke 15:5

"And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing."

Bio | Danielle Wells

Hi! My name is Danielle Wells. It is an honor and privilege to be with you today. My husband and I serve on the Community team at Watermark Plano as Shepherds for groups and also help launch new community groups. I am a mother to three sweet princesses, wife to Daniel for 10 years in October, and Louisiana born and bred. Geaux Tigers!

Central Truth

As our Good Shepherd, Jesus went to great lengths to seek and save the lost. He joyfully gave everything to carry us in His arms.

Devotional | Luke 15:1–10

As a family, we once took a trip to a wilderness reserve where people can see and feed wild animals up close. It was a beautiful day, and our family was having a blast until my oldest daughter got separated from...

As a family, we once took a trip to a wilderness reserve where people can see and feed wild animals up close. It was a beautiful day, and our family was having a blast until my oldest daughter got separated from me. Immediately, I was filled with fear and worry as I ran searching high and low for her.

As I tried to call another family member to see if my daughter was with her, I realized there was no cellphone service. While the minutes ticked on, every worst-case scenario rushed through my head while I checked every place imaginable. Finally, I found her with the family member I couldn't reach earlier. Relief, joy, and gratitude replaced the panic and fear that had filled me. 

If I, an imperfect parent, was willing to go to any length necessary to find my child, how much more would our perfect Father do to pursue and woo us? In fact, He demonstrates this great love in pursuit of us, even though we are sinners (Romans 5:8). 

In Luke 15:1-7, we see a shepherd who lost one of his sheep. Unlike me, the shepherd was not described as panicked, worried, or fearful; but rather he was determined, caring, and loving. He was willing to do whatever it took to find one of his sheep. My favorite part is when he finds the sheep, he isn't angry at the sheep for wandering off. He also didn't punish, lecture, or even begrudgingly drag the sheep home. He rejoiced and joyfully carried the sheep on his shoulders.

Jesus joyfully carried our sins on the cross and now carries us day by day. He is our loving Shepherd and Burden Bearer. He perfectly made a way for us to know God. My prayer for you and me is that we run to and not from His open and loving embrace day after day. 

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Discussion Questions

1. Do you allow Jesus to carry you in His arms and bear your burdens, or do you try to carry them with your own strength and ability? (Matthew 11:28-30)

2. Is there an area of your life that is not under the direction and lead of your Good Shepherd? In what area(s) have you gone "astray" like the sheep in the story?

3. What's your story of grace? How has the Good Shepherd rescued you from difficult seasons in your life?

9 Comments available

Michael Scaman 6 months ago

Why does Jesus do what Jesus does? " “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” Question raised and some answers

one answer is for the pleasures of God in reaching sinners

one answers will be for sinners to join the joy of the father

Both joy driven answers.

greg jones 6 months ago

I readingLuke15:1-7 I see a picture of Jesus carrying a lamb on his shoulders in my old Sunday school room. Reading the devotional I could picture myself sitting in a wooden primary chair looking at my “Sunday shoes” listening to the story, cause that’s how our story goes and that’s how I remember learning it.

When I read Zechariah11:15-17 I get a different picture of the Shepard who left the flock in the field.

When I hear Jesus defend receiving “tax collectors and sinners”,his lost brothers, the counter argument I hear is Zechariah11:14

God has spoken to the prophet, the union of brotherhood is broken. God’s done. These parables retell the stories Judah and Israel are familiar with.

I have to reimagine the parable story to imagine their prophet. Judah/Israel have to reimagine their prophet to imagine the parable story. Perspectives.

Trey Collins 6 months ago

Gmorn Danielle, great devo! We once lost our son for 45 minutes at a 3,000 person city event. We had over 20 police officers looking for him for 30+ minutes.

I sank into moments of deep fear during that time, and it grew until it turned into sort of a numb, stunned emotional spot. I thought he had been taken for sure. The incredible joy and relief when he was found safe!

I would’ve done anything to find my boy (he was 5 at the time) that day. Christ sacrificed his own Son to find me. He adopted me into His family. He gave me life, none of which I deserve. And he rejoices over my salvation! Praying for us this morning Danielle to love others the way God loves us.

michael mcgowen 6 months ago

Lord I’m lost in all the billions and billions of people it’s overwhelming, last time we went on a road trip I got so depressed I felt so small and insignificant, I’m sure glad you keep records of anything good we do, hopefully all the bad stuff gets lost for good, a single touch from my family makes a huge impact it feels so good, please touch us today it’s the only thing that will make a difference being all lost in this massive world.

Michael Scaman 6 months ago

7 verses on shepherds from the Psalms:

God promised as our shepherd Psalm 23:1 Psalm 28:9 Psalm 80:1

The ‘David’ figure given as shepherd past and future (in the Messiah) Psalm 78:71 Psalm 78:72 Ez 34:23

and… For those not redeemed, death is their shepherd Psalm 49:14

Sue Bohlin 6 months ago

Thanks, Danielle! I also know the absolute terror of having lost a child, and the incredible joy of finding him again. (At the Garland police station. Y’all can ask me about that.)

I think this is my favorite chapter in the Bible because of how Jesus teaches us–and corrected people’s understanding–about the Father’s heart. William Barclay wrote that “A great Jewish scholar has admitted that this is the one absolutely new thing which Jesus taught men about God – that he actually searched for men.”

I also learned from Barclay that there was a Jewish saying at that time, which Jesus overturns head on: “There will be joy in heaven over one sinner who is obliterated before God.” That certainly puts a new spin on His teaching that “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

Lindsey Driscoll 6 months ago

Danielle I love that you highlighted the shepherds response to finding the sheep. I see that he didn’t scold the sheep for running off, which sheep are likely to do. The verbs in both parables tell a story of relentless pursuit by the shepherd and the woman searching for the lost coin. That is how Christ pursues the lost, and in turn how we are called to pursue the lost. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6

Hope Harris 6 months ago

GM JTJ Peeps, Thinking through Wiersbe’s thoughts on today’s passage. These two parables help us understand something of what it means to be lost. 1) It means being out of place. Sheep belong with the flock, coins belong on the chain, and lost sinners belong in fellowship with God. 2) A lost sheep is of no value to the shepherd, a lost coin has no value to the owner, and a lost sinner cannot experience the enriching fulfillment God has for him in Jesus Christ.

Lastly to be “found” means that you are back in place (reconciled to God), back in service (life has a purpose), and out of danger.

Thank you Jesus for going out of your way to find this lost sheep

Hugh Stephenson 6 months ago

GM Danielle. Thanks for your personal story. We have been there. Love the link to Matthew 11:28-30.

I’m re-reading Phillip Keller’s book on Psalm 23. As a former shepherd and pastor, he has amazing insights on the nature of sheep and the calling of shepherds.

The phrase “prone to wander” could not be more apt to any two beings as to sheep and me. It seems regardless of the strength of His call there are many times when I do not hear His voice as I have “wandered” off onto some pasture I perceive as green and fertile. Often, I do not even realize I have wandered off and am lost. I am absorbed in whatever it is that distracted me.

My shepherd knows that I am lost and at risk of predators, (1 Peter 5:8).

So, may I yoke myself to Him and therefore never be lost, (Matthew 11:28-30)

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