Friday, January 5, 2024

Saying 107


Jesus said, ‘The kingdom is like a shepherd who had one hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, strayed. He left the ninety nine and sought that one until he found it. After he had labored, he said to the sheep, “I love you more than the ninety nine.” ’


The saying, possibly based on Ezek 34.11–16, is told essentially the same as in the synoptics, but with different contexts. Matthew uses it to discourage the exclusion of children from the community of Jesus’ followers (Matt 18.6–10). Luke has Jesus tell the parable, along with two other stories, to illustrate why he ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them’, something his religious opponents object to (Luke 15.1–2). The parable conveys how Jesus spends time with ‘sinners’ in order to bring them to repentance, so that they will ultimately be saved. Instead of functioning as a lesson for how the disciples should act in the present, or why Jesus acts as he does, the version in Thomas is about God’s kingdom. Like the parables in Sayings 96–98, this one describes a surprising revelation that will be made in the end times: it will be rewarding for people who might be considered ‘lost’, even above and beyond those normally considered part of the in-group.



34.11–16 For thus says the Lord Yhwh: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land, and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord Yhwh. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.


6.34 As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things.


10.5–6 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’

15.24 He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’

18.12–14 ‘What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.’


15.3–7 So he told them this parable: ‘Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.” Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.’

No comments:

Post a Comment