I. Introduction to the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin
Both parables needs to be understood from verse two. The Pharisees and scribes often condemned Jesus for associating with obvious sinners. They also condemned Jesus for healing people on the Sabbath.
Three parables in a row illustrate God’s point of view by placing us in His position. We can first identify with the lost coin and lost sheep, because we worry when we lose our favorite things. Both parables lead up to the Prodigal Son, which is more complicated, because we are not as forgiving as God.
1) Youngest children – They have a clear concept of their own toys and their pets. They should see that God worries about lost people and rejoices when they believe in Jesus.
2) Grade school children can understand some additional points. They can identify the attitude of the Pharisee. We all have that at times. They can also see how God looks for us and does everything possible to bring us into His Kingdom.
Confirmation students can also see some humorous points. We worry about our lost items more than what we have. This is a jab at the Pharisees. Jesus’ ironic humor can also be seen in verse seven. God rejoices over the sinners who believe in Jesus far more than the Pharisees “which need no repentance.”
II. The Lost Sheep
Luke 15:2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
The shepherds of the time were fond of their sheep. They called them by their names, and their sheep followed them. (See John 10) When we lose an animal we love, we drop everything and look for it. In this parable, each person is to think of God in his place. Would you look for a lost sheep? God looks for lost sinners. Are you angry at the sheep and willing to let it die from starvation or from being attacked by wild animals? God is also anxious and concerned over those who have wandered away. He follows after them and does everything possible to rescue them.
When we wander away from God, we should remember the second part of the parable. The shepherd puts the sheep on his shoulders (showing his tender love and forgiving nature), brings him home rejoicing, and celebrates with the friends and neighbors. In the same way, all of heaven rejoices over the repentant sinner brought back by Jesus. There is no rejoicing for those who think they need no repentance. These are the Pharisees who condemn Jesus for helping sinners.
1. Have you ever lost a pet? Was he away all night? Did you worry about him?
2. How did you feel when your pet was found?
3. Did you tell everyone you knew?
4. Do you have horses, donkeys, chickens, goats, or other livestock?
5. Do you care about these animals and want them healthy, well-fed?
6. Do your animals also love you in return?
III. The Lost Coin
Luke 15:8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
At the time of Jesus, very little cash was used. Ordinary people had no credit. Therefore, ten coins represented a lot of buying power. In this parable, the main character is a woman, helping women see that Jesus spoke to men, women, and children alike. (He welcomed the children when His grumpy disciples tried to shoo them away.)
We have all lost some precious to us, something valuable. It may be a coin, a toy, a lovey (blanket, teddy bear, doll), a collectible item, a book, or the keys. One three year old girl played with her father’s keys, hid them, and kept him from going to work that day. On that day the keys became very precious.
When we lose an item, we stop everything and even enlist our friends and family to help us. In this parable, the woman lights a candle and cleans the entire house to find that coin. Lighting a candle would have been an extra expense. When the coin is found, she rejoices with her friends and family. It is not just her happiness, but the happiness of the entire family and neighborhood.
The one lost coin is precious. So is the one lost person. The angels in heaven rejoice whenever a person is found by Jesus.
Last week, the entire Sunday School dug up hidden treasure and got to keep coins from various countries. One wise-guy grabbed a Kennedy half-dollar, the most valuable one of all.
However, some coins were lost by accident. Would you look for those lost coins if you knew you could have what you found? If you look now, you will find them. (No fighting, knocking over things, bawling or whining please.)
How do you feel when you hear that you can get a lost coin and keep it? Does everything stop? Do you tell others? Now you know how God feels when He brings another repentant sinner back into His Kingdom.
Next week: The Parable of the Prodigal Son
THE LOST SHEEP AND LOST COIN
"Thus too, if our confidence is to begin, and we become strengthened and comforted, we must well learn the voice of our Shepherd, and let all other voices go, who only lead us astray, and chase and drive us hither and thither. We must hear and grasp only that article which presents Christ to us in the most friendly and comforting manner possible. So that we can say with all confidence: My Lord Jesus Christ is truly the only Shepherd, and I, alas, the lost sheep, which has strayed into the wilderness, and I am anxious and fearful, and would gladly be good, and have a gracious God and peace of conscience, but here I am told that He is as anxious for me as I am for Him."
Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, IV, p. 86. Luke 15:1-10.
"It is not enough that we preach correctly, which the hireling can also do; but we must watch over the sheep, that the wolves, false teachers, may not break in, and we must contend for the sheep against the wolves, with the Word of God, even to the sacrifice of our lives. Such are good shepherds, of whom few are found."
Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 34. John 10:11-16.
(1) "Dearest Jesus, we are here, Gladly Thy command obeying; With this child we now draw near In accord with Thin own saying That to Thee it shall be given As a child and heir of heaven. (2) Yea, Thy word is clear and plain,And we would obey it duly: 'He who is not born again, Heart and life renewing truly, Born of water and the Spirit, Can My kingdom not inherit.' (3) Therefore hasten we to Thee, In our arms this infant bearing; Let us here Thy glory see, Let this child, Thy mercy sharing In Thine arms be shielded ever, Thine on earth and Thine forever. (4) Gracious Head, Thy member own; Shepherd, take Thy lamb and feed it; Prince of Peace, make here Thy throne; Way of Life, to heaven lead it; Precious Vine, let nothing sever From Thy side this branch forever."
Benjamin Schmolck, 1704, "Dearest Jesus, We Are Here" The Lutheran Hymnal, trans., Catherine Winkworth, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941, Hymn #300. Mark 10:13-16.