“Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!
So Jesus told them this story…”suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”” (Luke 15:1-2, 8-10)
Nestled between the parable of the man calling together friends and neighbors to rejoice at the rescue of his lost sheep, and the parable of the father running with joy to welcome home his once lost son, Jesus’ words about this woman’s rejoicing at her found coin teach us again about the Father’s heart. Because the religious leaders were irritated with Jesus’ free offer of himself to obvious sinners, and they were grumbling about his association with those who didn’t “deserve” God’s goodness, Jesus tells them three parables. And:
“We have in this series of three interrelated parables a profound picture of God’s heart and the invitation of the gospel. The consistent theme throughout these parables is rejoicing over the finding of what was lost (one sheep, one coin, one son). These are images of God’s joy in the restoration of a sinner through repentance.” (ESV Gospel Transformation Bible comments)
- More joy in heaven (Jesus’ words at the parable of the lost sheep found).
- Joy before the angels of God (Jesus’ words at the parable of the lost coin found).
- Celebration and gladness (Jesus’ words at the parable of the lost son found).
Joy before the angels of God. Celebration and gladness. Joy in heaven! Do you hear it? Do you hear Jesus’ explanation to us of invisible-world realities, of the experience in heaven, when a sinner comes to know Him as Lord?
When you, as that sinner, come to know Him. You, that one sinner! You, rejoiced over! Angelic joy because God brought you to repentance. Think on that reality.
And think on the Father’s heart. Little lost sheep, tiny lost coin, rebellious and straying child, God’s goodness in bringing you to himself, with His incredible grace shed upon you, causes amazement and rejoicing in heaven! The Father’s patience and compassion, his welcoming rescue, his relentless pursuit of you, causes joy in the presence of the angels and is celebrated before the throne! His amazing grace toward you, little you, causes angels to marvel.
How much more so should we.
O Father, fill our hearts with incredulous wonder. Stir within us amazement and joy that you would pursue undeserving us. That we would have the honor of being little found coins.
The Lost Drachma by James Tissot (1836-1902)