And he spake unto them this parable, saying, What man of you, having a hundred sheep, and having lost 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 his neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance.
In this parable, Jesus uses the example of a man who had lost one sheep out of his flock of one hundred, who left the ninety nine to save the one.
Jesus compared this to a sinner repenting, and that there is more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents than over ninety nine righteous people.
What Jesus was saying is similar to what He said in Mark 2:17:
And when Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.
The scribes of the Pharisees had previously asked Jesus why he ate and drank with the publicans and sinners, and He replied by telling them that people who are in good health have no need of a physician, only those who are sick. Jesus was pointing out that he had come “to seek and save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10).
In the same way, the shepherd in the parable was more worried over the one sheep which had strayed than the ninety and nine which were safe.
As Christians, we should be more aware of all the lost people we come in contact with each day. Often we stay with our Christian friends and never go out in the world to teach the gospel to sinners. We need to remember that “there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance.”