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  • Chad Werkhoven

Matthew 18:10-14 - Sought & Saved

You're a child of God, and He will not let you stay lost.


Matthew 18:10-14 (NIV)

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. [11 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”]

12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

Verse 11 is not in many of the earliest and most reliable manuscripts, but it is in some and also is included in the parallel to this passage in Luke 19:10.


Listen to passage & devotional:


Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 17: The Recovery of Fallen Man

We believe that our good God,

by his marvelous wisdom and goodness,

seeing that man had plunged himself in this manner

into both physical and spiritual death

and made himself completely miserable,

set out to find him,

though man,

trembling all over,

was fleeing from him.

And he comforted him,

promising to give him his Son,

“born of a woman,”

to crush the head of the serpent,

and to make him blessed.



The parable of the lost sheep is found both here in Matthew's gospel as well as in Luke. Since Jesus would likely repeat parables as He traveled from one town to another, it makes sense that both Matthew and Luke report Jesus telling this particular parable in far different contexts. Whereas Luke portrays Jesus calling out the Pharisees for not seeking those falling away from the flock, Matthew places this account in the same context that Jesus was speaking to and about little children.

These different contexts change the meaning and application of the parable. Whereas when Jesus spoke this angrily to the Pharisees as Luke records it, it become a lesson for leaders in the church to go after wayward members before they get completely lost or injured. But as He tells it here in Matthew's account, likely still having the little children on His lap, He's telling us something important about His Father in heaven.

What Jesus means here is that our Father is not content with having secured the salvation of 99% of His people. He will do whatever it takes to be certain that each and every one of His 'sheep' are made safe. We also get some insight about how God feels about finding His sheep. We might expect Him to be rightfully angry and even discipline the sheep for wandering off and putting itself at risk, but rather He rejoices at having found the sheep just as the prodigal son's father rejoices upon his return.

Dig Deeper

We're coming to this parable today in the context of learning that, as our Confession puts it, "Our good God... set out to find [sinful, rebellious man], though man, trembling all over, was fleeing from Him." Just like the shepherd in Jesus' parable, your Father set out to find you, even though you were actively running away from Him!

Everyone reading this was found by the Good Shepherd in a different spot. Many, if not most of us, were found by Him at such a young age we don't even really specifically remember it; By His grace, we've spent most of our lives with the 99 back in the safety of the flock. Some of you had wandered off a bit farther. Perhaps you were more seriously injured by sin, or maybe God found you just as the wolves were set to pounce.

Either way - whether you were found early in life, or whether it's been more recently, the result is the same: Our Father is happier about finding you and rescuing you from sin than He is about the 99 who are already safe (but each of those 99 could say that same thing about when God found them!).

The point of our Confession, and the point of Jesus' parable is that we have a God who loves us so much that He "is not willing that any of these little ones should perish." So He sent His Son, the Son of Man, to seek and save the lost.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who comes looking for His fallen and broken children;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that having been found, you will be a faithful member of God's flock;



Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Romans 6


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