Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. ~Jesus!
As long as you are on this side of heaven, you need to repent. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Nothing good dwells in us. Men who walked with Jesus recognized their need for repentance and so did the prophets. The psalmist says that if He had cherished sin in His heart, the Lord would not have heard Him.
So when Our Savior says that Heaven will rejoice over one sinner who comes to repentance than over 99 righteous persons, sarcasm is what He has to offer. Paul in his epistle to the Romans said, “what I want to do do, I don’t and what I do not want to do, I do” This is not something that stopped happening to Him after he wrote the letter. It did not mean the the fight was over. NO!! On the other hand, it helps us recognize that we mess up and ought to repent day after day. (1 John 1:8-9). Repentance goes on till the day we enter eternity, the day we are completely free from sin. So in this portion of Scripture, Our Lord is hitting at the self-righteous Pharisees and Scribes who thought themselves worthy because of their public acts of virtue like sounding bells before giving alms, praying on top of their voices, fasting and making it a show and the alike thus not recognizing their need for a Savior.
It bothered them so much that a mighty man who was performing all those miracles like never before, who spoke the word with all authority, who said He was the son of God, kept company with the people they assumed to be the worst- tax collectors, prostitutes etc and unlike themselves, the self proclaimed righteous!
Christ did not come for the good. On the contrary, just like it is the sick who need a doctor, He came to save the bad. (Luke 5:31-32). He is the perfect one through whom we attain righteousness, the mediator, the Great High Priest who, right now is seated at the right hand of the father pleading and making intercession on behalf of all the destitute who have recognized their need for Him. On behalf of Prostitute, thieves, murders, adulterers and the alike so He can change their stories. On behalf of people with a broken and contrite heart. On behalf of people like me who recognize that apart from Him, we are nothing and therefore cling to Him for salvation.
Well, this is not a place for people who are fairly good, who have their “good” acts ready to defend them, who think themselves righteous like the Pharisees and Scribes, but rather for the meek, who mourn over their sinfulness. No wonder they will see God!!
Faithful is the word and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ came into this world to save sinners of whom I am for Most!