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In the drawing darkness of the evening, the lost sheep trod the shadows of the valley, alone, fearful and trembling. Not too far off, the howlings of wild beasts could be heard suggesting impending death for the sheep. As daylight faded away into total darkness, all hope was lost, but to wait to be torn apart and devoured by the lurking predators of the night. His heart began to be filled with remorse for having wandered off from the herd and failing to heed the calls of the shepherd, leading to such a pitiful state. If he could go back in time, he would never repeat the same mistake. Now only destruction lay ahead, and who was to blame but himself. No one would sympathise with him, what more any expectation of the shepherd returning for him. The shepherd still had ninety-nine obedient sheep in his fold, why would the shepherd concern himself with this wilful one? Suddenly, the sound of someone trudging along the hills was heard and under the glistening moonlight, he saw a familiar silhouette. As the figure drew near, who would have known, it was his master! The sheep was overwhelmed with joy as he raced towards his master. The shepherd hugged the sheep tightly in his bosom. When the sheep saw the cuts and bruises on his master, sustained from the journey through the wilderness, tears rolled down from his eyes. The shepherd went in search of the sheep because it was weak and helpless, never did it cross his mind the monetary value of that sheep. Though the shepherd suffered injuries, he found it all worthwhile upon finding the sheep that was lost. He then put the sheep over his shoulders as he returned home joyfully. And because the shepherd had risked his life in finding the sheep, all the more he loved and cherished him. The sheep belonged to the shepherd, and the shepherd belonged to the sheep, between them laid a bond of love as sure as death that could never be severed or destroyed.

Pitiful were the ninety-nine sheep which had not been lost, for they could never understand the love of the shepherd for them and could never experience the joy of salvation.

(Note: “righteous persons who do not need to repent” do not exist in the real world, but only “sinners who are self-righteous and refuse to repent”)