1. Jesus' charisma and anointing regularly attracted a wide array of people-types, but at this point in His ministry, an unusually large number of characters of dubious reputation seemed to be surrounding Him all the time. The hated tax collectors, who were friendly with the oppressive Roman government...along with a variety of sinners of scandalous notoriety...were with Him constantly, hanging on to His every word, and hearing Him with apparent comprehension.
2. The self-righteous Pharisees and teachers of the law were shocked by His tolerance of them, and by their obvious mutual familiarity. They whispered among themselves, "This man makes reprobates feel accepted and right at home...He openly socializes with them all the time."
3. So Jesus answered them with this illustration:
4. "Imagine that a shepherd has a hundred fine sheep, and loses one of them. If he's a good shepherd, wouldn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the lost one until he finds it?
5. And when he finds it, wouldn't he joyfully put it on his shoulders?
6. Wouldn't he then bring it home and call his friends and neighbors together and say to them, 'Come celebrate with me...I have found my lost sheep!'
7. The truth is that in the very same way there will be more celebration in the heavenly realm over one transgressor who has a paradigm shift, than over ninety-nine people who think that there is no room for improvement in their own lives, and stay exactly the same as they were.
8. Or let's say a woman has ten silver coins and loses one of them. In that case, doesn't she light a lamp, sweep the whole house, and search it thoroughly until she finds the money?
9. And, just like the shepherd, when she finds it she calls all her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Come celebrate with me...I have found my lost coin!'
10. Just like with the lost sheep, I reiterate, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one rebel who changes his or her mindset."