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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, February 02 2023

The parable of the lost coin - Seeking lost people

Jesus told a brief story about a woman's determined search for her lost coin. The parable pictures God's desire to reclaim lost human beings, and also shows we should share that desire and put a high value on relationships.

by Darris McNeely

The parable describes a lady, who is not particularly well off, but she does have ten silver coins that are of great value to her. Then one day she discovers one is missing. Christ presented this scenario in three verses, and explained the point of the parable: "Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!' Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15:8-10).

Kenneth Bailey, an expert on the ancient Middle Eastern lifestyle explains that coinage was not common among such peasants: "The peasant village is, to a large extent, self-supporting, making its own cloth and growing its own food. Cash is a rare commodity. Hence the lost coin is of far greater value in a peasant home than the day's labor it represents monetarily" (Kenneth Bailey, Poet & Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes: A Literary Cultural Approach to the Parables in Luke, 1983, p. 157).

A typical house of that time had a few small slits for windows or no windows at all, so that there was little light. Searching for the lost coin required more light, and oil for a lamp was not cheap, but the woman had to find that coin. Just as she is about to give up she finds it and rushes out of her house to tell her neighbors.

The author is reminded of an experience he had, as a pastor, which reflects the values described in the parable. One day he received a letter from a lady who wanted him to visit her and discuss some of the truths she was learning from the Bible about God and the calling He was offering her.

When he arrived at her house the pastor soon realized she was not well off. She barely had running water, little food and only a few possessions, but for the first time in her life, her mind was being opened to understand the deep truths of who and what God is and what His purpose for her life was all about. She had been religious all her life, but like many today she felt something was missing from her understanding and what she was being taught. She was looking for a deeper meaning to her life and richer relationship with God.

The lost "coin" she found was the true gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. She welcomed the pastor into her home and she was welcomed into the fellowship of believers. Her pastor was able to find her an apartment closer to town, with a full bath and running hot and cold water! She now had a clean and warm physical home as well as a safe and welcoming spiritual home where she could worship each Sabbath with her new family. Through this experience she learned the lesson of God's desire to restore us into a relationship with Him and it changed her life.

Christ came preaching the challenge to "repent, and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15) and stated in Mark 2:17, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance" (Mark 2:17). This parable highlights God's commitment and devotion to caring for mankind and to go searching for the lost. In God's great plan He will gather all the lost outcasts and join them to the larger spiritual body He is building.

All three parables in Luke 15 concern the restoration of lost relationships. God wants us to be like Him in seeing the importance of relationships with other people and striving to reconcile and restore fellowship with them.