“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?”

Jesus has just warned His disciples in verse 10 not to despise any of "these little ones," most likely meaning any of the believers in Jesus. Why not disrespect other believers? Because God the Father has decided they are of such great value that they are worthy of sharing in His glory.

Now Jesus begins to illustrate the value His Father, God, places on every single person who believes in Jesus. He will picture the Father as a shepherd with 100 sheep. Jesus asks what a shepherd with that many sheep will do if just one of them goes astray. Won't the shepherd leave behind the 99 to go search for the one?

Historians suggest that 100 would have been about the average flock size in Palestine during this era. Given this scenario and the value of sheep, the shepherd would leave his flock with other shepherds in the area who were tending their sheep to go and find his wandering animal. The implication is that God the Father would have the same attitude toward His own "little ones," believers in Jesus, who go astray (Matthew 18:13–14).

Matthew 18:10–14 describes the great value God the Father places on everyone who believes in Jesus. This is often referred to as the Parable of the Lost Sheep. Jesus warns His disciples not to despise any of the believers, calling them "little ones." They are connected to the glory of God by their angels in heaven. God the Father is like a shepherd with a wandering sheep. He will leave all the others to go and bring that sheep back. The Father's will is that none of His own should perish.

Jesus uses two questions from the disciples to teach important lessons. The "greatest" in the kingdom is the one who humbles himself like a child. Temptation is unavoidable in earthly life, but it's worth going to extremes to avoid falling for it. Even so, those who fall should not be hated and despised.

God the Father values them highly and wants none of them to perish. Jesus lays out a clear, careful process to confront sin in others before removing them from the community. Christ also replies to Peter's question about forgiveness with a parable. This story represents both God's amazing forgiveness and the way we ought to respond as Christians.