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The lost sheep

clearly depicts the long-awaited turn towards the better, towards Salvation, when the Good Shepherd, the Only-Begotten Son of God, comes into the world to find and save His lost sheep, which is humanity wallowing in its sins. The parable of the lost sheep, as well as the two parables that follow, were Christ's response to the clamor of the rancorous Judaic scribes, who were reprimanding Him for His compassion to public sinners.

"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? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance" (Lk. 15:1-7).

The proud and complacent Judaic scribes expected the Messiah to come and establish a powerful and glorious kingdom, in which they would take the ruling positions. They did not understand that first of all the Messiah was the Heavenly Shepherd, not an earthly ruler. He came into the world to save those who felt themselves hopelessly lost, and to regain them for the Kingdom of God. In this parable, the shepherd’s compassion for a lost sheep was particularly evident, for he neither punished the errant sheep, nor forcefully drove it to the flock, but laid it on his shoulders and carried it back. It is the symbol of the salvation of sinful mankind, for, on the Cross, Christ took our sins onto Himself and cleansed us. Since then, the atoning power of Christ’s sufferings on the Cross makes it possible for a man to revive morally, returning him to his lost righteousness and his blessed communion with God.

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