Summary: There are millions like this today in Christian homes -- many even in our own churches. We have raised them in our Christian homes. We have taught them the Scriptures as best we knew how.
SERMON—LOST AT HOME—LUKE 15: 8-10
The parables of our Lord are remarkable stories, which he so wonderfully told on many different occasions. They intrigue and challenge us for they always have an element of mystery about them; they constitute a delightful, tantalizing challenge to us to discover the hidden truth that he has incorporated in them. In the parables written about in Luke 15, a crowd made up of loan sharks, hippies, and radicals surrounded the Lord. Of course, the Scriptures do not call them that. There they are referred to as tax collectors and sinners. But these are the modern equivalents. They were listening eagerly to what he had to say. They even invited him home to dinner and he accepted.
But the Pharisees and the scribes objected very strenuously to our Lord’s fellowshipping with these people; in their egotistic self-righteousness, they criticized him severely for it. They murmured against him, saying that he was demeaning himself by eating with tax collectors and sinners. To answer this charge our Lord gave three parables. Each of them is a picture primarily intended to illustrate the joy in the heart of God when someone who was lost is found.
In the process of telling these stories Jesus reveals the four kinds of lost ness. In the previous parable that of “The lost sheep” we learned that men can be lost because of unthinking ignorance. They become preoccupied with life, drifting away without intending to do so. There is no rebellion, no intent to be lost, but they simply wake up to find that life has moved them away from where they ought to be, and so they find themselves lost.
THE PARABLE OF THE LOST COIN
Luke 15: 8-10 "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
There are three very revealing movements in this little story:
The first is the circumstance of the lost coin. The coin referred to here is a small silver piece worth, in our money, about 10 pence. The lady had ten of these, so the total value of her wealth was £1.00. That is not very much, but it was more than simply some money to this woman because it had great sentimental value. We learn from those who have studied the customs of ancient days that this was part of her dowry.
When a woman married she took money that she had accumulated throughout her life and sewed it into a headdress, which she wore on her wedding day. She used ten silver coins -- which is why our Lord picked this number to illustrate the story. Therefore these ten coins were of tremendous significance to her as a woman. They symbolized her dowry. They represented not just the value of the money, but all that she had to contribute to the marriage. This headdress was of such value to the women of that time that, by law, it was impossible for it to be taken from them -- even to pay a debt.
Have you ever thought that these Eastern customs of marriage were much more sensible than ours. We can see in our own culture how the father of the bride must pay all the costs of a wedding. It was much better in the East where the women needed to contribute only this little bit. The bridegroom paid everything else. As the stepfather of two daughters I should like very much to reintroduce these customs into our modern scene!
The point of the illustration that the Lord is giving here is that something was lost -- but lost at home. The value of the story of the lost sheep is that, though the sheep did not mean to, it had wandered away and the shepherd had to leave the ninety and nine to go out and find it. Similarly, the value of this illustration is that the coin was lost at home where you would not expect to find lost things. This coin did not wander off. It was in the place of apparent safety. Nevertheless it was lost -- probably through carelessness or neglect, although nothing is said about the cause. It may have been by some accident. The woman is unaware that the coin is lost until suddenly she discovers that it is gone. When she wakes up to realize that the coin is missing she is stirred to a flurry of activity to recover it because it is of extreme value to her. That is the story, and Jesus intended it to hit with impact on those who heard.