As Jesus taught the tax collectors and sinners gathered around Him, the Pharisees began to mutter to themselves about His open association with those deemed “unclean” according to the Jewish religious code. The parable of the lost sheep was Jesus’ defense of His welcoming of sinners.
Using a demeaning choice of words for the Jewish culture, Jesus compared the Pharisees to the lowest rank in the social class: the shepherd. The people in Jesus’ day knew that when a sheep went astray, the keeper was left no other choice of action except to search until he found it. The question was not “if”, but “when” he would find it.
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