We started to answer it by pointing out that when the Saviour came to earth some 2000 years ago, He left behind His father, His glory and the glorious company of Heaven in order to save His people.
I believe ‘that leaving’ is what is referred to here!
The flock spoken of here could not be an ‘earthly’ body of people for a number of reasons.
Because of their description. “ . . . . ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance,” verse 7. This cannot refer to any group of human beings, not even the saved!
“. . . . there is no man that sinneth not,” 1 Kings 8:46
“ . . . for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23.
Saved and converted sinners are ever in need of repentance. Rev 2:5, 16; 3:3, 19. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us,” 1 John 1:8.
“All of a Christian’s life is one of repentance.” Martin Luther.
I. Notice what the Lord did in order to find the lost sinner.
1. He had to ‘leave’ the 99. What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? To ‘leave’ is like the setting up of a home. Matt 19:5.
2. Just who are the 99? They are commonly considered other members of His flock, believers in other words. I am not so sure that this is so. Others consider them the ungodly who consider themselves in no need of redemption.
I reject both views.
I believe that we have a picture of the Saviour leaving His Father’s house and those wonderful heavenly, angelic creatures who are sinless and therefore in no need of repentance, in order to come to earth to save His elect.
Consider these verses:- Hebrews 12:2-3; John 17:5, Philippians 2:7. Here is the Saviour leaving behind His glory and the glorious company of Heaven. The angelic hosts are his flock which He has created and loves as well, Col 1:16.
1.We have the merciful patience of the Lord toward the rebellious wicked displayed.
We would have been totally out of patience with these Pharisees and scribes long before for they have continually been hounding and contradicting theLord and seeking to fault his words and actions.
It ended with their conspiracy to kill Him. Matthew 12:14.
This is where Christ-rejection ends.
2. He explains the central purpose of His coming.
Save lost sinners. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost,” Luke 19:10.
Not, as the Pharisees and scribes believed, the glorification and exaltation of the nation of Israel and the establishing of Messiah’s earthly kingdom.
This was a common expectation amongst the Jewish people back then. Even the disciples are looking for that time of blessing. “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6.
Even after Calvary this idea was still in their head! They were, however, to learn that before that day of Israel’s earthly glory there would be the gospel age when all nations would hear the message of salvation.