More Joy In Heaven

“Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 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 15:1-7

At this point in time, we aren’t sure exactly where Jesus was. Some notes from my Bible college days says this was part of His ministry in Perea. And we know from chapter 14, that he had been at the home of a ruler of the Pharisees for a Sabbath meal and had taught some lessons to others who were at the gathering.

But now He appears to have left that home, and it’s not clear if he was inside or outside, although judging from the types of people who gathered around Him, I would bet on the latter. And of course we have the ever-present Pharisees and scribes who consider themselves morally superior to everyone. They are concerned that tax collectors and others are getting Jesus’s attention.

So Jesus tells three parables designed to show the worth of all people.

The parables are usually referred to as the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. But actually, if you look at what Jesus was saying, you see that they would be better titled as the seeking shepherd, the seeking woman, and the seeking father.

The point Jesus makes is not what was lost, but the care and urgency exhibited by those who were seeking. And that God Himself is like them when it comes to seeking lost people.

However, I want to look at a little phrase Jesus used in the first parable which I’ve always found interesting. Interesting because it really isn’t needed, which is why He probably didn’t mention it but once. The phrase is an underhanded jab at the Pharisees and scribes, and it shows Jesus’s mentality when sharing parables in that only those who truly wanted to know and understand them would catch what He was talking about.

The parable is simple enough. It tells how a shepherd would leave his flock, which he considered safe, to go look for a lost sheep. And the joy he would express when he found it. Then Jesus compared that to the joy in heaven when a lost person is found.

But here’s where it gets interesting. Jesus says there will be more joy over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.

Was Jesus saying some people were more important than others? Was He throwing a barb at the Pharisees, telling them God cared more about tax collectors than them? Just who were these just persons Jesus referred to?

That is the twist, and the point Jesus is making. There are no just persons who need no repentance.

Romans 3:23, says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And Romans 3:10, reminds us, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” The scribes and Pharisees may have considered themselves just or righteous, but they were not. They were as much sinners as the tax collectors. The only difference was, the tax collectors knew it and admitted it. The Pharisees would not.

Jesus was essentially telling the Pharisees if they could only admit they were sinners, like the tax collectors and others, they, too, would find forgiveness. And heaven would rejoice.

Heaven does indeed rejoice over every sinner who repents.

Has it rejoiced over you?

Do you know Jesus? Do you have a personal relationship with Him? According to scripture, all anyone must do is recognize their sin condition, realize that Christ died to pay for that sin, and ask Him to save them from it. Salvation is a gift of grace we receive by faith. Meet Him today! Contact me at if you need more information.

Thanks for stopping by! Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think!

2 thoughts on “More Joy In Heaven

  1. Hi Stacey! Thanks for reading and commenting.
    Jesus was a master at turning a phrase and throwing His opponents false arguments back at them. It’s interesting to note that man knows when he doesn’t have a legitimate argument against God’s truth, so he tries to create his own reality so his rebellion and crazy, false ideas make sense. But they can’t stand up. And that’s what Jesus did over and over, simply toss the truth back at them. And sometimes He even threw in a little sarcasm. 🙂


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