“THE NINETY AND NINE”

  Al Maxey writes weekly articles which I read with great pleasure.  I want to share some of his recent article concerning “The Ninety and Nine.”

  To the scribes and Pharisees, who were grumbling at Christ’s grace, Jesus spoke the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:3-7; Matthew 18:12-14).  The Pharisees would have been content with the “ninety and nine that safely lay in the shelter of the fold,” but Jesus had a heart of compassion for that lone lamb “away on the mountains wild and bare, away from the tender Shepherd’s care.” The Pharisees would have said, “Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine: Are they not enough for Thee?”  “But the Shepherd made answer, “This of Mine has wandered away from Me; and though the road be rough and steep, I go to the desert to find My sheep.”
The poetic words I have just quoted, which are based on this beautiful parable of a shepherd’s love and concern for his flock, come from the pen of a young woman named Elisabeth Cecelia Clephane (1830-1869) and they are found in her wonderfully inspiring hymn, “The Ninety and Nine.”

  In 1870, Ira Sankey became music director for the famous preacher, D.L. Moody.  One time when these men were traveling, Stankey stopped to purchase a newspaper.  He discovered in that newspaper a copy of Elizabeth Clephane’s poem, “The Ninety and Nine.”  He cut it out and placed it in his pocket.  That afternoon Moody’s message was on Luke 15:3-7 – the Parable of the Lost Sheep, and how our Lord Jesus is the Good Shepherd who seeks the lost.  At the end of the message, Moody turned to Sankey and asked him to sing some solo that was fitting to this theme.  Sankey was not expecting this request and couldn’t think of anything. Then suddenly he recalled the little poem he had put into his vest pocket.  Placing his newspaper clipping on the organ before him and breathing a prayer for divine help, he struck the cord of A flat and began to sing.  Note by note the tune was given to him and that same tune has remained unchanged to the present time.

  We can sing the words of the song with real understanding of God’s love for the lost.      “And all through the mountains, thunder-riven
             And up from the rocky steep.
             There arose a cry to the gate of heaven, 
             “Rejoice, I have found My sheep.”
             And the angels echoed around the throne,
             “Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own.”

  Jesus said, “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 15:7
 
  I want to ask you, who are the righteous who need not to repent?  You, me, anyone, NO NOT ONE IS RIGHTEOUS.  All of us, everyone, needs to repent and turn to the Lord.  Change, turn your life around, and yield yourself to Jesus who can save.

3 Responses to ““THE NINETY AND NINE””

  1. MAX ,
    WHAT A BEAUTIFUL STORY. iT IS HARD FOR ME TO EVEN THINK THAT JESUS WOULD COME FOR ONLY ME, THE ONE LOST SHEEP. I BELIEVE THIS IS WHY HE TOLD THIS STORY,TO TELL AND SHOW PEOPLE JUST HOW MUCH HE LOVES US INDIVIDUALLY.

    MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU AS UO BLESS OTHERS WITH THESE GREAT REMINDERS OF THE LOVE OF JESUS.

    LOVE AND PRAYES, JOANN

  2. Thanks for the reminder that Jesus died for us individually. I’m with Joann, it is hard for me to fathom that Jesus would search for me, especially knowing how undeserving I am of his grace. I have been proud and arrogant so many times and absolutely don’t deserve his love. But thank goodness, that is what grace and mercy do! God bless you and Joann this week.

  3. It is trully a wonderful story, but I see another story. God gave us the story in the Scriptures and Elizabeth Clephane writes a poem about “The Ninety and Nine”. Ira Sankey finds the poem and puts it in his pocket. That night, Dwight Moody preaches about the same Scripture with emphasis on the one lost sheep. He asks Ira to sing a song with the same theme. He doesn’t know one, but remembers the poem in his pocket. He decides to sing the poem and prays for God’s help. He sits down to the organ and begins to play and sing. God knew this would happen long before Elizabeth wrote the poem. I can see GOD coordinating the whole story every step of the way. Watch for God working in your life the very same way. It is so great when you see evidence of GOD working in our every day lives.

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