The parable of the prodigal son instructs us regarding the depth of God the Father’s love for us. As I mentioned yesterday the parable of the lost coin might easily be understood as a story focusing on God the Holy Spirit’s love for us. The parable of the lost sheep then would be seen as an illustration of God the Son’s great love for us. It is often argued by commentators that John 10:11 is a direct reference by the Apostle John to Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep in Luke. Jesus says in John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Jesus then says in John 15:13, “that no greater love than this has any man; that one lay down his life for his friend.”

These three parables; the parable of the lost son, the lost coin and the lost sheep all picture the Godhead’s great love for each and every single one of us. When John writes in 1 John 4:8 that “God is love” he is referring to the entire Godhead. The unifying force of three persons of the Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is love. Jesus as the messenger of the Godhead clearly expressed His purpose in taking on flesh in Luke 19. He says, “I have come to seek and to save that which is lost.” When we read Genesis three we see the triune God involved in the creation account, but He is not only involved with creation but also He is intimately involved with our redemption. No matter how many souls there are in the world (currently approaching 7 billion), God’s focus of redemption is on you! The Father waits for your return. The Holy Spirit searches far and wide, holding his lamp high as he sweeps through the rubble in the world to find you. The Son, our Great Shepherd, becomes the sacrificial lamb to redeem you! I expect that Peter was referring to this parable when he wrote that we “were like sheep going astray…(who) have returned to the Shepherd of our souls.” (1 Peter 2:25).

God loves each and every one of us sheep. Jesus tells us the difference between the hireling and the shepherd. The hireling is a mercenary; in it for the money! The shepherd is in it because of his love for the sheep. One commentator writes, “Without love, there may be care, but it will not be tender care; there may be guardianship, but it will not be incessant, unwearied, jealous guardianship. The heavenly Shepherd loves the sheep of his flock with a deep, true, patient, and abounding love, surpassing far the utmost affection whereof man is capable; surpassing even the utmost conception that man can form of love.” It’s Love that holds the Father to the fence longing for His son’s return. It’s love that moves the Spirit to search far and wide for his lost souls. It’s love that moved the great shepherd to give up His life for us sheep.