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Series: Puzzling Parables
Today: Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Lost Boy
Luke Luke 15:3-32
Rev. Laura Brewster
Introduction. We’ve heard the parables about the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost boy before. Today, we will consider if they can teach us something new.
Scripture. Read Luke 15: 1-1 0 (The parable of the lost sheep and the parable of the lost coin.)
We Are Valued By God & God Celebrates When We Turn To Him. Both the sheep and the coin in these parables have little value when placed in context. In the case of the missing sheep, the owner had 99 other sheep. Losing one was not going to break the bank. In the case of the missing coin, what was missing was worth about one day’s wage. That was not an insignificant sum, but it wasn’t huge either. Again, the items are of limited value. However, the owners of the missing items launch an immediate search, and the owners hold celebrations after the items are found. The traditional interpretation of these two parables is that we are the lost coin and we are the lost sheep when we are living sinful lives away from God. But God loves us so much that God never stops reaching out to us and calling out to us, and when we finally decide to turn away from sin and turn, or return, to God, God celebrates.
Join the Search Party. When we puzzle over these parables a bit more, we see another lesson emerge. A clue to this second lesson appears in the opening words of the parable of the sheep – “Suppose someone among you had one hundred sheep and lost one … ” This language encourages the listener to assume the identity of the person who searched for the missing sheep. Through these stories, then, Jesus encourages us to help search for the lost instead of sitting back and waiting for them to show up at church.
Where Can We Search?
So where might you go to encounter new people and share God’s love? How can you move out of the church building and into the community, begin to show interest in others, and gain the opportunity to share your faith?
Who and Where Is the Lost Son?
As we continue to puzzle over these parables, still one more lesson soon appears. That message is found in the parable ofthe lost son (Parable of the Prodigal Son.) Read Luke 15:12- 32. The traditional take on this parable is that the prodigal son was the one who got “lost” but then came to his senses and returned home. It is said to represent how we sometimes get lost but can return to God who is always watching and waiting for our return to him. But what about the older son? Although no one had noticed, he had emotionally broken away from his family. Pastor Edward Markquart says this about the brothers, “We have one brother who is the prodigal of the flesh and the other is a prodigal of the spirit.” This is a challenge to us to consider, who has been a part of our church family in the past but has left due to resentment, hurt, or some other reason. Have we even paused to take notice of who has gone? If so, what have you done about it?
In short, many of us love the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin and lost boy because they speak of God’s love for us. But they’re a challenge too – a challenge to become a part of God’s search and rescue team.