Luke 15 is a very famous chapter in the book of Luke that includes three of the most well-known parables of Jesus. This week we’ll be looking at the first two: first, the parable of the lost sheep, and then second, the parable of the lost coin. These parables are told in response to the pharisees and teachers of the law who were complaining that Jesus spent way too much time with suspicious characters— sinners, tax collectors, and other people who were held in great contempt by the religious elites of the day.
So Jesus told these stories to explain his ministry. He was explaining why he spent so much time with people that were seen as outsiders, why he hung out with them, why he partied with them, and most importantly, why he loved them. In these stories, we see that people who are lost — that we often characterize as lazy, worthless, unwanted — are, in God’s eyes, actually the most wanted, most valued, most sought after. And since Jesus is God visible and in the flesh, he is spending his time going after those who are most on the outside, desiring to bring them in.
From these stories we first learn about ourselves — that we should think about ourselves as those that are both lost and loved. But we also learn about what kind of church we should be— a church like Jesus— a church passionate about pursuing and seeking after those that are far from God’s love and who need to be brought in.
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1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors 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.”