The One Lost Sheep

Peace, one and all…

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Jesus (as) said: ‘The Kingdom of the Father, she is like a man who has a shepherd, who had a hundred sheep.  One of them, the largest, got lost.  He left the ninety-nie; he sought after the one until he found him.  After thus troubling himself, he said to the sheep: ‘I love you more than the ninety-nine’.

The Gospel of Thomas, 107

In his excellent translation of the Gospel of Thomas, Samuel Zinner makes an interesting point regarding the above saying of Jesus (as):

‘Logion 107 speaks of a single and large sheep… The shepherd is said to love the single sheep that was lost more than the other 99 sheep.  As Quispel observes, this represents the ‘lost sheep of the house of Israel’ which God loves above all peoples, and for whom, according to the canonical gospels, Jesus came to find.  However, the one sheep better than all the others will also represent the all-important metaphysical reality of self-knowledge, which is simultaneously an overcoming of multiplicity (99 sheep) by unity (one sheep), whereby the two become one’
(Zinner, 2011, 284 – 285)

In light of this explanation, I cannot help but see parallels here with this beautiful hadith of the Prophet (as):

‘God’s Messenger (as) said: ‘Allah has ninety-nine names, one hundred minus one, and whoever knows them will go to Paradise’

(related in Bukhari; another similar hadith)

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