The Lost Sheep....Who Are They?
For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
How think ye? if a man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Matthew 18:11-13 K.J.V.
The Parable of the lost sheep is a well known one to say the least. I recall as a child, having a storybook which told showed a shepherd searching high and low for his lost sheep. It has been one of the more memorable Bible passages for me simply because I have heard it referred to so much. I even heard a children's story based on the lost sheep told from the sheep's point of view. Poor Snowflake after being so sure he was ready to go it alone, realized that perhaps being out on his own was not all it cracked up to be. But he was lost and couldn't find his way back. Then his shepherd came and took him home and how grateful was he!
Most times...well, all the times I hear the parable of the lost sheep, I know and hear the confirmation that Jesus is in fact, the Shepherd and we, the flock and those of His flock who are lost, He will search for, until he brings them back to the fold. I was thinking about this again when I was reading about the habits of sheep and other animals, and the question came to me- just who are these lost sheep? Lost sheep represent the lost of the world. But not just any lost...those who are lost who belong to Him. I have often heard the saying that all are God's children, but then why does the Bible speak about separating the goats from the sheep? If the whole world contains sheep then who are the goats?
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.Matthew 25:31-33 K.J.V.
Christ uses the same terminology he used in the lost sheep parable, likening Himself to a shepherd and then He adds that he will divide His sheep from the goats. I can only come to one conclusion - there are goats among the sheep. Goats who are not part of the flock and who are not the lost sheep whom the shepherd searches for. They do not belong to Him, yet they integrate themselves within the flock. If you have ever seen a flock of sheep you will know when they are together, they all look like one body, an entire mass. Would you be able to tell at a glance, if there were a few goats in the flock? Only someone who searches for the discrepancies, who takes a closer look, would discover the goats. A shepherd knows his sheep. So too does Christ know His flock.
After examining that fact about the goats and the sheep, I can only conclude that the parable was meant for those who belong to Jesus not the ones who don't. And, yes, there are some who don't. I didn't make up the goats part. It is right there in the Bible.
Jesus has said that He will say to His sheep: Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world
And He has said that He will say to the goats:Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
There must be some then who will not enter into the kingdom of God. This is the conclusion I have come to. It is a sobering thing indeed.