Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. “Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:1-10, NRSV)
This is the parables that come before the story of the Loving Father which most of us know as the story of the Prodigal Son.
This chapter is said to be about repentance, which I can see in the story of the Loving Father, the younger son repents, but why is there the reference to repentance here in our passages about the lost sheep and the lost coin?
I mean really, how does a sheep repent? And how does a coin repent?
Ok, I’ll tell you, a sheep repents by saying, “Sorry I’ve been baaaaaaaaad.” And a coin repents by saying, “I promise I’ll change.”
Ok, all kidding aside, this passage and the story of the Loving Father are not about repentance, but about how far God is willing to go to look for us, and how much He is willing to risk to look for us.
You see the shepherd leaves 99 sheep, not in a pen, but on the mountain side to go and look for the one sheep that is lost. The shepherd risks the 99 to find the one.
And the woman turns the house upside down for one little insignificant coin. But in reality it is not insignificant, it means the world to the woman, and that is how God looks at you.
And in the Loving Father, the father runs and give the younger son a ring, sandals, and a robe and then he leaves the party to get the older son. Shaming himself again and again to reclaim and find the sons. God does not stop looking for or pursuing you.
How quickly will we give up a search? Depends on what we are looking for.
But here is my guarantee, God will never give up on you!