And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. ~Luke 15:5
When I was a small child, I remember my dad taking me to his butcher shop in Berkeley. My dad was only 5’5 ½ inches in height, but in his younger days, he was incredibly strong. I remember that day when a meat delivery truck came and had large sides of beef to deliver. These sides of beef weighed between 150-250lbs. Dad went out, hoisted one of the sides of beef and carried it on his shoulder all the way back into the meat walk-in box, and placed it on a hanging meat hook! Even though the side of beef looked about the same height as my dad, he carried it on his shoulder without a grunt. This morning, we are looking at the parable of the lost sheep, and how Jesus carried the sheep that was lost on his shoulder.
We see the shepherd and his recovery.
“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?” The parable is about a shepherd who had one hundred sheep, and one of the sheep wandered away. He was so concerned about the welfare of the one sheep that wandered away, he left the rest of the flock to pursue after the one. We are told that he pursued the lost sheep until he found it. We see the shepherd personally went to locate that one lost sheep. Our shepherd takes it personally when one of his sheep go astray. What a consolation that is for us! We see the shepherd is passionate about this one sheep. We are told that he goes after that which was lost, until he find it. We see the shepherd is persistent about this one sheep. He maintains an intense search until he finds it. He is personal, passionate, persistent, but also patient. It does not matter how long it takes before he recovers that sheep. This is a beautiful picture of how the Lord lovingly goes after any of his children who wanders away from fellowship with him. In our story, he recovers the lost sheep.
We see the shepherd and his return.
“And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” What an amazing picture! He places this injured, shaken, and terrified creature on his shoulder. This reminds me of Isa. 53:4 where it says, “He has borne our grief and carried our sorrow.” The shepherd knows the return journey might be too hard and strenuous for this exhausted sheep to make it back on its own. So, he carries it on his shoulder all the way home. Our shepherd carries our burdens for us! The weight does not affect him. The distance does not affect him. All he cares about is the safe return of his sheep. Our burden becomes his burden. Our cares become his cares. Our pain becomes his pain. Jesus Christ has the everlasting arms to support and carry us when we are down, defeated, and discouraged. If Jesus is bringing you back from a period of wandering, you can rest on his shoulders and know that the journey is sweeter because Jesus is carrying us.
We see the shepherd and his rejoicing.
The shepherd rejoices that what was lost is now found! He rejoices that the lost sheep is back with the family. He rejoices that what was endangered is safe. You might say he has become “carried away” with what he is carrying back. The lesson in all of this is to encourage us to be thankful that the Lord places us on his everlasting arms, and brings us back safely.
Peter said, “Casting all you care upon him; for he careth for you.” Let Jesus carry your cares and burdens for you. Let Jesus hold and carry you when you are sorrowful, solitary, and have sinned. We have a loving shepherd who is “carried away” for our safety and well-being.
Have a lifted God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Habakkuk-Zephaniah