The Contrite Spirit

Chester Droog

READ : Luke 15:1-7

The parable of the lost sheep is the first of three parables recorded for us in the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. Jesus is eating with a group of outcasts and sinners. Some Pharisees and religious teachers standing nearby are overheard to say: “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Jesus responds by telling them the story of the ninety and nine.

I must admit that I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the ninety and nine. It seems to me that they are the perfect example of true faithfulness. They stayed with the shepherd. It doesn’t seem fair to identify them with the self-righteous Pharisees and religious elite who have no need for repentance. But Jesus is no longer talking about the sheep. He is talking about people, people who believe themselves to be so pure and holy they have no need of repentance. He tells them that heaven’s joy is not found in self-righteousness, but in those who know themselves to be sinners, unworthy of Christ’s love and attention. The contrite heart and the humble spirit is what makes for joy in heaven. That, my friend, is the point of the story.

Are you truly sorry for your sin? If so, you are the reason for heaven’s joy this day.


Holy Spirit of God, give me a true and healthy sorrow for my sin, through Jesus Christ. Amen.