“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’till I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still You gave Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God”
These lyrics from “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury, struck a chord in my heart when I heard them for the first time last Sunday at my church. This song revolves around a parable from Jesus in Luke 15.
“Then Jesus told them this parable: ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.'” Luke 15:3-7
I had never really thought much about this parable until I heard this song. It always confused me a little bit. In thinking in terms of this parable from Jesus, how can just one single sheep be more precious than ninety-nine sheep?
Here is a little context to this parable. During this time, Jesus was about to speak to a crowd. Among that crowd, tax collectors and sinners, aka the worst of the worst, were gathering to hear from the Messiah. The Pharisees were not amused that Jesus was pleased to speak to a crowd filled with those they believed to be the worst of the worst. They did not understand how the Son of God could let the “unworthy” listen to Him and even eat with Him.
For Jesus, it is simple. He does not care if you are black, white, rich, poor, a doctor, a tax collector, a Pharisee, or even a sinner (aka literally all of us). Jesus wants a relationship with everyone, even (and especially) the sinners. He cares more about finding that “one lost sheep” instead of taking the easy route and focusing on the “ninety-nine.” What a picture perfect representation of the “reckless love” of our God.
We have all been there. We have all been that “one sheep” that is lost and just needs to know that someone out there actually cares enough to pursue us. That “shepherd” that comes to look for us is our incredible God. When we stray away it might be because we feel unworthy of God’s grace and love. Guess what? We are unworthy of God’s grace and love. Do you want to know the incredible thing? God still wants us. God still loves us. God still calls us His sons and daughters. Even when we make mistakes and wander away. Now that is some “reckless love.”
“There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me”
When you are that “one sheep” there is literally no place on this Earth you can go where God will not find you and rescue you. He will search far and wide to find his beloved, which is you. He is coming after his “one sheep” no matter what. When God finds you, the party in Heaven begins. He will be filled with the purest joy because He is reunited with His precious son or daughter. You cannot even begin to imagine how happy God is to have you back in His arms. That is how much He loves you.