Precious Things and Special People
(The Parables of the Lost Coin, Sheep and Son)
Here is a woman. She has ten silver coins. The likes to count them. One, two, three, four…
Oops! Silly cat! Now they’ve gone all over the place.
The woman picks up her silver coins.
They have been scattered everywhere! The cat doesn’t care. He has stretched out and gone to sleep.
The woman counts her silver coins again. But there are only nine. Bother! One of them is missing. It can’t be far…
its under the rug…
or maybe it bounced into the fireplace…
or maybe it rolled into the garden…
She even looks inside the pots and pans…
She makes such a noise she’s woken the cat. There it is! The missing coin is found!
She is so happy she calls her friends and neighbours to tell them the good news.
the same way” says Jesus, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of
God over one sinner who repents.”
In our reading from Luke 15, Jesus told another story about something that was lost and found. What was it? A sheep.
It was a very similar story.
In fact if we had time to read the whole of Luke 15, we would see that Jesus told three stories about being lost and found. Can anyone remember the other story Jesus told about something or someone getting lost? That’s right – the story of the lost son.
Why do you think Jesus tell three different stories about getting lost and found? One after the other? Perhaps because there’s more than one way of getting lost.
What is different in these three stories?
One is about a silver coin. One is about an animal a sheep and one is about a person, a son. What else is different?
Was the coin responsible for getting lost? No. It was helpless. It was lost by chance.
What about the sheep? The sheep by nature, wander off if they are not continuously watched. It was lost by circumstances. Sheep are short-sighted and when they are looking for food they can get lost.
What about the son? Was he lost by chance or because of his circumstances?
No. He was greedy and impatient. He rebelled against his father. He was lost by choice. It was deliberate and his own fault.
These three stories tell us a lot about sin and about our spiritual condition before God.
Sometimes we are like the coin and get lost it seems by chance. Other times it seems we are like the sheep and we get lost because of our circumstances.
But most of the time we are like the son. We want to be independent of God and we lose our way because of our own deliberate fault. Because of our choice.
What do the stories have in common?
Now lets think about what these three stories have in common?
1. They all belonged
silver coin was priceless to the owner. The sheep was prized by the shepherd. The
son was precious to his father. They were all valuable, significant. There was
a relationship. What does Jesus want to teach us about this first similarity?
We belong to God. He is our creator. He has a purpose for our lives.
He wants to have a relationship with us. What else have they in common?
2. They were all lost
The silver coin was priceless but worthless when lost. The sheep was prized but useless when lost. The son was precious but vulnerable when lost. We can get lost through neglecting our purpose as much as by rebelling against our maker. Sin leads to separation. We all get lost, we lose our way and we need help to find our way home.
What else do they have in common?
3. They were all found
The lady kept looking until she found the coin. The shepherd kept on searching until he found his sheep. The father never gave up hoping until he saw his son again. And when he did, Jesus says “he was filled with compassion for him and ran to his son” In Hebrew culture a father would never run. But Jesus wants us to know the Father heart of God. Filled with compassion he sent Jesus to find us and rescue us and bring us home. One more thing they have in common.
4. They were all celebrated
The lady called her friends and neighbours “rejoice with me I have found my lost coin”. The shepherd calls his friends and neighbours “Rejoice with me I have found my lost sheep”. And the father says to his servants “Lets have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.” Do you see what Jesus is saying through these three stories? Our circumstances may be different. We are all unique. But we all belong. We all get lost. God’s will is that we be saved, that we find our way home. And when we do, it is cause for celebration. To make sure there is no doubt, Jesus repeats one more thing – the application of the story to each of us.
“I tell you that in the same way there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” (Luke 15:7).
“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10).
“But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:32).
Notice how Jesus describes the condition of the lost – dead. And the condition of the lost who is found – from death to life.
Here then is the application. I believe Jesus would have us take the principles that these stories have in common and see that we all belong to God. He has a purpose for our lives. But we all get lost and need rescue. With which story can you best relate to? With which condition can you most identify? We are either lost or found. Far or near. Dead or alive. Jesus came to save us and bring us home to the Father. And when we do it is cause for much celebration. Our celebration today for all that God has done for us is but a foretaste of the celebration in heaven.