The pastor relayed God's message to the "one" in front row...
Whoever believes in me, he shall live." That is, turn from self and die and then truly come to life.
And we bowed our heads and some our hearts, for I suppose there's always a grumbling Pharisee or scribe present. And "the one" heard Him. With heads bowed, no one to cheer him on, he said "Yes". When I heard the preacher say, "Anyone else?" I knew. God had not relented in this one's life, he pursued and was patient. He left the crowd to find him, and now his child turned to Him and lay on his shoulders, as the lost lamb on his shepherd's shoulders.
There was much joy in Heaven. The Spirit rejoiced within.
The preacher asked "the one" to pray with him. An outward sign of an inward turning? The sanctuary stilled and his voice went out, a lone voice in the crowd, even to the back and beyond the sanctuary, others would tell me later.
He prayed words of knowing he was a sinner and that only Jesus, his life, his death, his resurrection-his blood, could clean him, could bring him eternal life, this knowing of the Father.
My tears flow easy. Men save their tears. But that day, the men cried. They cried in this "knowing" and this eternal joy. I'm thankful this sinner was there that day to rejoice with other sinners covered by the blood of Jesus. I'm thankful that my Lord left the crowd to come after me, for I too was once "the one".
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes grumbled saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them."
So he told them this parable. What man of you having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, for I have found the sheep that was lost. 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. ~Luke 15:1-7