Have you ever lost or misplaced something that was very important or meant a great deal to you? Naturally, we have all experienced this from time to time; whether it was our cellphone, wallet, or even our car keys, we have all felt that form of panic when something is missing. Furthermore, did you ever have a big celebration with friends when you found that missing cellphone or wallet? More than likely, that answer would be no, and like most of us, you felt a sigh of relief and then went about your day. Interestingly, Jesus posed a similar question to use as a teaching point for a crowd of people that had gathered around Him.
Among those who had gathered around Jesus were some disgruntled Pharisees’ and scribes saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” In response, Jesus speaks to the crowd saying, “What man among you, if he had a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one that is lost?” Jesus further shares, “Or what woman, if she had ten silver coins and lost one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?” (Luke 15:4;8). In both cases, the person was willing to do whatever it took to find what was lost.
The silver coin of that era was called a drachma, and its value would be equivalent to 25-cents in U.S. currency. Now, when most people lose a quarter, more often, their attitude is “so what.” However, if all you have to your name is a total of ten quarters, losing one becomes a big deal when something you want to buy costs $2.50. On the other hand, sheep carried great value since they were among the most used for animal sacrifices, and so to let one merely wander off would be like throwing money out of your car window while driving down the highway. So is Jesus teaching the crowd a lesson about the importance of taking care of their investments, that life is all about money? Not at all; instead, Jesus is teaching them about the love God has for them.
Jesus is the good shepherd who came to seek out the lost sheep in the world, the lost souls of people whom God loves and values greatly. It is a love so great that Jesus was willing to do whatever it took to find and restore the lost and return them to the fold of heaven. Jesus did this through His redeeming work on the cross at Calvary. Jesus concluded His parables by saying when the shepherd found his lost sheep, and when the woman found her lost coin, both celebrated with their neighbors in joy. Then He said, “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).
Malcolm Tolbert (1970) best summarizes the Pharisees’ problem, which, in part, was the high esteem in which they held themselves. Tolbert writes:
“The Pharisees’ problem was not their immorality but their attitude toward their fellow man. Like so many good, religious people, they were hard, judgmental, unforgiving. Their contempt for persons who did not meet the standards was an important facet of their lack of humility before God. They failed to recognize their need of grace” (p. 124).
In the eyes of God, you are of great value, not in a monetary sense, but a great value to the heart of God. He loves you; He has sought you out, and He desires a personal relationship with you. It’s not about hardened religious practices that judge and condemn others as did the Pharisees’; it’s about a loving one-on-one relationship between you and God alone.
Perhaps you have yet to accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord. To accept Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord and be cleansed, forgiven of sin, by His life-saving blood, then all you need to do is call upon His name right now in prayer. You can either lift your prayer or use the prayer below as a guide, but remember, you must confess you are a sinner, that you believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on a cross for your sins and that he rose from the grave. You must do this with a heart of repentance, meaning you will turn away from your sin, from that which displeases God. Understand that you are not coming to Christ by way of intellectual ascent but by faith. Let us pray.
Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and ask for your forgiveness with a heart of repentance. By faith, I believe that Jesus is Your only begotten Son who died on a cross for my sins. I believe that you raised Him from the dead and that He now sits at Your right hand. I humbly confess Him as my Savior and Lord, and I welcome the Holy Spirit into my life to help and guide me along the narrow path that leads to eternal life in heaven. Thank Father, and I lift this prayer to You in the blessed and holy name of Jesus, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer or lifted your own to invite Jesus into your life as your Savior and Lord, welcome to the family of God! At this moment, there is joy in the presence of angels because of your repentance this day. We ask that you please leave a comment below so that we may rejoice with you and pray for you. Please be also encouraged to contact a Christian friend or your local Bible-believing church and tell your friend or someone at the church that you accepted Jesus into your life. That person will gladly guide you in the steps ahead to help you grow stronger in your faith and closer to God.
Tolbert, M. O. (1970). Luke. Clifton J. Allen (ed.), The Broadman Bible Commentary (Vol. 9). (pp. 1-187). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.
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“God never leaves you nor forsakes you.” I’ve heard that before. “Jesus will leave the 99 to come after you.” I’ve heard that one too. Meanwhile, fear creeps up when life hurls a season of loneliness our way, and poof! Churchy sayings hold as much weight as thin air. Believe it or not, God is cheering us on and inviting us to thrive amidst the loneliness. Yes, it’s weird and scary, but this emptiness is a safe space where you get to hear the God of everything speak the loudest. You’re safe because God is so good at owning goodness amidst our dank, confused, lonely seasons, and because of Him, you aren’t so by yourself.”