Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. (Luke 15:1 NKJV)
I always find it interesting that tax collectors and sinners are mentioned in the same breath when the Bible refers to them. If you think about that time though, because tax collectors were in the “system” of the world, they probably found Jesus’ words of healing, love and forgiveness refreshing.
This particular passage of scripture (losing a sheep and leaving the 99 to find it) is very popular. It makes so much sense though and it gives me joy to think this is how the God of the universe thinks. If I owned sheep and they provided my means of living, I would do everything I could to keep them safe. If one of the sheep were to go missing, I would look all over to try and find it; even though I had 99 others that were safe. Once I found the sheep, it would bring me joy knowing that it was found and back under my care.
Jesus says that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than 99 people that do not need to repent. This speaks to how powerful redemption, or repentance and forgiveness are in the Kingdom of Heaven.
I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:7 NKJV)