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The Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin (Luke 15:3-10) are the first two in a series of three. The third is the "lost son" or the "prodigal son." Just as in other cases, Jesus taught these...
In a world that can appear uncaring and indifferent to us, this parable reveals a startling truth: God loves us so much that He Himself will come after us, in order to bring us to Him. We often talk about people seeking God; in reality, God is seeking us. The soul that has given himself to Christ is more precious in His sight than the whole world. The Saviour would have passed through the agony of Calvary that one might be saved in His kingdom. He will never abandon one for whom He has died. Unless His followers choose to leave Him, He will hold them fast. Read Luke 15:8, 9. This parable is found only in Luke. The lost coin could have one of two meanings. First, Judea during the time of Jesus was full of poor people, and in most homes one coin (drachma) could have been more than a day’s wage, barely enough to keep the family from starving. Second, as a mark of being married, some women wore a headdress made up of ten coins, a huge sum, saved over a long time in the case of poor families. In either case, the loss was a serious matter. So, the woman, utterly broken and in deep grief, lights a lamp (the house perhaps had no windows or perhaps only a small window), picks up a broom, and turns the house upside down until she finds that coin. Her soul is filled with overflowing joy, and the overflow floods to all her friends. The coin, though lying among dust and rubbish, is a piece of silver or gold still. Its owner seeks it because it is of value. So, every soul, however degraded by sin, is in God’s sight accounted precious. As the coin bears the image and superscription of the reigning power, so man at his creation bore the image and superscription of God; and though now marred and dim through the influence of sin, the traces of this inscription remain upon every soul. In the parable the shepherd goes out to search for one sheep the very least that can be numbered. So if there had been but one lost soul, Christ would have died for that one. The sheep that has strayed from the fold is the most helpless of all creatures. It must be sought for by the shepherd, for it cannot find its way back. So with the soul that has wandered away from God; he is as helpless as the lost sheep, and unless divine love had come to his rescue he could never find his way to God. The shepherd who discovers that one of his sheep is missing does not look carelessly upon the flock that is safely housed, and say, "I have ninety and nine, and it will cost me too much trouble to go in search of the straying one. Let him come back, and I will open the door of the sheepfold, and let him in." No; no sooner does the sheep go astray than the shepherd is filled with grief and anxiety. He counts and recounts the flock. When he is sure that one sheep is lost, he slumbers not. He leaves the ninety and nine with the fold, and goes in search of the straying sheep. The darker and more tempestuous the night and the more perilous the way, the greater is the shepherd's anxiety and the more earnest his search. He makes every effort to find that one lost sheep. With what relief he hears in the distance its first faint cry. Following the sound, he climbs the steepest heights, he goes to the very edge of the precipice, at the risk of his own life. Thus he searches, while the cry, growing fainter, tells him that his sheep is ready to die. At last his effort is rewarded; the lost is found. Then he does not scold it because it has caused him so much trouble. He does not drive it with a whip. Thank God, He has presented to our imagination no picture of a sorrowful shepherd returning without the sheep. The parable does not speak of failure but of success and joy in the recovery. Here is the divine guarantee that not even one of the straying sheep of God's fold is overlooked, not one is left uncensored. Every one that will submit to be ransomed, Christ will rescue from the pit of corruption and from the briers of sin.
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