Luke 15:1–10 (NKJV)
In these two brief passages, Jesus uses two parables to teach the joy and blessing of finding things that were lost. He alludes to a sheep and a coin as items that a man and a woman lost, and the joy that came when they were located.
15:1 Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So He spoke this parable to them, saying:Luke 15:1-7
4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.
In this parable, Jesus responded to the Pharisees’ and Scribes’ complaints that He ate with sinners by describing the shepherd’s joy when he found one lost sheep. Each one was so valuable that the shepherd left the ninety-nine to go after the one lost sheep until he found it. He held a celebration with his friends after the sheep was found. While this may seem a bit extreme to the reader, it is a demonstration of the joy of the Lord when a sinner is saved. Therefore, Jesus was more concerned with finding the lost sheep at His table than with petting His spoiled sheep in the temple.
8 “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? 9 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!’ 10 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
Jesus then offers a second parable of a woman who lost a coin, then searched diligently for it until she found it. Her joy was shared with others as well, and there was great rejoicing. Jesus again explains how this applies to the joy in heaven over a sinner that repents. Both of these parables illustrate the need for the church to have an outward focus. When the church directs all of its attention to satisfying, pacifying, and applauding its current members, it will not have time to reach out to the lost. Change your focus if necessary. Think of the harvest, for the time is short to reach the lost. We have a mission: let’s fulfill it!