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Matthew 18:12

How think you? if a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, does he not leave the ninety and nine, and go into the mountains, and seek that which is gone astray?
Read Chapter 18

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
If a man have a hundred sheep. This is to show the goodness and mercy of God towards sinners. By the one sheep, some understand all mankind, and by the ninety-nine, the angels in heaven. (Witham) Jesus Christ manifests his tender regard and solicitude for us poor weak creatures, by becoming himself the Son of man, thus abandoning in some measure the angels who are in heaven. He is come down upon earth to save by his death what was lost, imitating thus, with regard to men, the conduct themselves observe with regard to their sheep. (Bible de Vence) In the Greek, it is dubious whether the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine in the mountains, or, whether he himself goeth into the mountains in quest of the lost sheep. ...

Jerome

AD 420
When he said, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones,” he is calling us to be merciful. Then he adds the parable of the ninetynine sheep left in the mountains and the one stray that because of its great weakness could not walk. The good shepherd carried it on his shoulders to the rest of the flock. This, some say, is the shepherd “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” For that reason he descended to earth: to save the one sheep that had perished, that is, the human race. Others think that by the ninetynine sheep should be understood the number of the righteous and by the one sheep the number of the sinners, according to what he said in another place: “I have come not to call the righteous but the sinners; for it is not the health...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Do you see by how many things He is urging to the care of our mean brethren. Say not then, Such a one is a blacksmith, a shoemaker, he is a ploughman, he is a fool, and so despise him. For in order that you should not feel this, see by how many motives He persuades you to practise moderation, and presses you into a care for these. He set a little child, and says, Be as little children. And, Whosoever receives such a little child receives me; and, Whosoever shall offend, shall suffer the utmost penalties. And He was not even satisfied with the comparison of the millstone, but added also His woe, and commanded us to cut off such, though they be in the place of hands and eyes to us. And by the angels again that are entrusted with these same mean brethren, He makes them objects of veneration, and from His own will and passion (for when He said, The Son of Man has come to save that which was lost, He signifies even the cross, like as Paul says, speaking of a brother, For whom Christ died); ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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