Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach.
This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!
So Jesus told them this story:
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?
And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.
When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it?
And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’
In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”
To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons.