Have you ever thought, “Why would Jesus care about me? I’m just one person in a world of billions. What makes me so special that He’d intentional seek me out?” I know I have. Many times.
Ever since I decided to follow Jesus and commit to a true relationship with him, I have found myself constantly thinking about Jesus, his decision to die for ALL of us, and how I can bring that kind of incredible sacrifice and ultimate show of love into my day to day life. The problem for me though has not been seeing or accepting it. It has been truly believing that even when I fall or fail – and I will often – Jesus would still seek me out and he would still love me. This is evident in his parable in Luke 15.
3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “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? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 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.
In this parable, Jesus is talking about a Shepard and his sheep. A Shepard leads and his sheep’s only job is to follow him. But a good Shepard would never let not even one of his sheep get lost. Every single sheep matters to him. And if one does get lost, he will do whatever it takes to find it and will rejoice when he does. This is our relationship with Jesus. He’s our Shepard, leader and King. All we have to do is set our sights on him, go where he leads and follow with obedience.
I’m not very familiar with the behavior of sheep. But I can only imagine that at times, they may feel the need to wander off course. As humans, that happens tenfold! Even when we make the decision to choose to follow Jesus – and it’s always a choice we make, not a demand – we will get sidetracked. We will choose to wander, setting our sights on the ways of the world. But the best news is, Jesus will find us wherever we end up. He’ll meet us right where we are because we matter to him. No matter how big the Kingdom of God gets, no matter how many people come to know Jesus, each individual person holds a special place in his heart.
Jesus cares for us because God cares for us. You’re not just one in a billion in his eyes. You’re THE one. He’d willingly leave the ninety-nine for you! Wherever you end up, whenever you veer off course, he’ll be right there to say “Hey, we’re going this way. Stay with me.” The more I see Jesus as my Shepard and gladly accept my role as sheep, all pressure is off. I don’t have to lead myself. I don’t have to control the path. I don’t have to worry about what everyone else is doing, if I’m going the right way or where I’m even going to begin with. All I have to do is hold my position in line behind Jesus, knowing he’s got me. Knowing I’m with him, I’ll never be lost. But even if it does happen, He’ll always come find me.