Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
We are still studying around the above passage, although we are taking some detours around in this chapter of Matthew as we do. This is not an accident as the above conversation seems to be a pivot around which much of the chapter moves. If not, well, we can still have a good time with it!
See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
How do we treat those who are erring? How should we treat those among us who are erring? First of all, our desire for them should be without limit: Seven times seventy keeps coming to mind. That should be how our desire to bring the wandering sheep back is quantified in our lives. Every believer, whether young or old, new or mature, spiritual or not so spiritual, is important to our Lord Jesus Christ. We have each been purchased individually by the blood of Jesus Christ.
How do we often treat the wandering sheep? Well, not so good I fear. We sometimes tend to be like the Pharisees and look sideways at those who are stumbling, those who are of a different “class” than us, those who are less affluent or educated, or simply “less” as we have determined less to be.
As always, our Shepherd shows us the proper way to deal with those in these situations.
Jesus knows His sheep. He knows who has gone astray, because He know us! Do we actually know our brothers and sister? Do we know when they stray or are struggling? Do we actually know them as more than just the way we perceive them to be?
When we stray, Jesus seeks us out to restore us. Do we seek the wandering, or do we secretly rejoice, because their failure validates us and makes us feel good?
Jesus rejoices over the restored one. Do we? Or are we secretly glad that the “bad ones” have wandered away so that we no longer have to worry about them?
Final note here: So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. As we covered earlier, this is not a question of saved ones becoming lost ones; we are secure in that salvation forever. Our Lord does not want any of His little ones to become sidetracked, misdirected, or even halted in their spiritual lives.