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God rejoices over His people, and joys in His mercy and salvation toward His people. His people are no burden to Him, for He delights in doing good for us for all eternity!
Jesus expressed His joy in the saving of His people in a most peculiar manner, meant to nail down the supreme character of that rejoicing, and to rebuke the self-righteous who have no sympathy for helpless sinners.
When the Pharisees rebuked Christ for eating with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus pointed out that physicians only treat sick people, because those who are well don't need a doctor. So too, He stated, He came to call sinners to repentance.
The Pharisees thought they needed no repentance and no salvation. Christ had nothing to offer them, or so they thought, but He had come to save sinners.
Then Jesus points out that the Pharisees themselves were sinners, because they did not show mercy and sympathy to poor sinners. They had missed God's commandment that He valued mercy more highly than legalistic obedience! Jesus pointed out that the Pharisees were thereby alienated from God by their mercilessness toward poor sinners.
While they were busy polishing up their public acts of ritual observance, their hearts were unmerciful, and therefore God was displeased with them.
But then Jesus deploys a startling metaphor to emphasize just how much God rejoices in saving poor sinners. Christ relays the joy that the shepherd has in finding and bringing home his lost sheep, and then declares that the Good Shepherd rejoices more in the saving of the lost than He does in the the crowd that thinks itself righteous!
Saving poor lost sheep isn't just Jesus' duty, it is His supreme joy!
John Pittman Hey was born in 1961 in Jackson, Mississippi, to Godly parents who from the beginning raised him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. With child-like faith he came to Christ on his fourth birthday at his mother's knee. He received his education at church school,...