Summary: The Parables of the lost sheep and lost coin teach us the importance of every single individual to the Kingdom Of God.
Our gospel readings this morning, send me to parable heaven.
Now you know, if you’ve been listening to my sermons, and I know you have,
that I love parables and metaphors.
Here we have 2 parables:
-The Parable of the lost sheep.
-The Parable of the lost coin.
Now I find it extremely interesting, that our first parable of the lost sheep groups all the tax collectors and sinners together.
If you didn’t catch it when it was read, listen once again.
“Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him.” (meaning Jesus).
In this parable, setting is everything.
Here is Jesus, sitting and eating with sinners.
For the strict, righteous Jews, this was a disgrace.
In those days, who you associated with was very important.
Actually, in over 2000 years, not much has changed.
I’ve noticed in the corporate world, that Presidents hang out with their Vice Presidents.
When a party is given for the Hollywood stars in California, you and I are not on the list of invitations!
Now I have to tell you that I have the utmost respect for the Hassidim.
The Orthodox Jews who take the Bible literally to the strictest letter.
The men only wear white shirts, black pants, black jackets, and black hats.
Their heads are always covered.
They do not cut their facial hair, including their side burns that grow long and curl.
Their wives shave all their hair off so that they are unattractive to other men and they wear wigs in public.
They dress modestly, never allowing their knees or shoulders to be exposed in public.
And most of the time, their heads are covered.
Now you can obviously tell who the righteous Jews are if you ever go to Israel.
In fact, on the Sabbath, you will find them resting.
They are so strict, that no one is even permitted to drive through their town on the Sabbath, because driving is considered work.
So in our parable, Jesus is obviously not hanging out with the righteous crowd.
Here is a Rabbi, a teacher, hanging out with sinners. Yikes!
To the Righteous Jews, this is a disgrace.
When I was in seminary, I had several friends that were black, and friends that were white.
My first semester, I found myself usually having lunch with my white friends, Rebecca and Dan.
But eventually, I realized, that unless I sat down to eat, and have a meal with my friends who were black, I really wasn’t getting to know them.
I made it a point to change my behavior.
Jesus made it a point to sit down and eat with people who were different than himself…in this case…sinners.
The righteous were already obeying God’s commandments.
It was the sinners that Jesus came to save.
Hence, the parable of the lost sheep.
God wants to save all of us.
Every single human being is God’s creation.
God loves every single one of us.
It pains God greatly to see us missing out on an opportunity to be living within the kingdom of heaven here on earth.
It pains God even more, to see his children stray.
God wants to love every one of us.
But God will not force God’s love on us.
That doesn’t mean that God will not keep calling to our hearts or whispering in our ear, to come to Him.
God wants all of us to be found.
God wants all of us to be saved from the wrath of judgement day and sin.
And so, there is joy in the presence of the angels of heaven when one sinner repents, and accepts Jesus into his or her heart.
There is joy in the presence of the angels when one child of God is brought back into the sheepfold.
In our case, today, the sheepfold is the church.
When one more person is added to our assembly, there is much reason for joy and celebration.
In fact, it should be “Party Time”!
That searching soul should be made to feel so welcome, embraced, and loved, that they are certain that they made the right decision to follow Jesus.
The second parable in our gospel lesson for today, is the parable of the lost coin.
In this parable, it is equal to you and I having, let’s say, $100,000 in the bank.
We take out $10,000 to go on a trip.
Bear with me.
There were no such things as travelers checks or credit cards in Jesus’ day, so we have to say, for the sake of our parable, that you took out $10,000 in hard, cold cash.
Now as you were getting ready for the trip, you wanted to make sure that you didn’t loose your money, and that it wouldn’t get stolen.