FIRST-PERSON: A wholehearted search for lost coins
The woman searched desperately to find it. Where could it be?
Behind the couch, under the bed, mixed in with the laundry—she knew it had to be somewhere. Her home had grown dark in the lateness of the day, but she knew she would find no rest until she had first found her lost coin, so she lit a lamp and made a thorough sweep of the house.
Sure, she had nine other coins, and nothing about this particular coin made it more worthy of her attention than the others; but this one was lost while the others were not. She, therefore, turned the house upside down in order to find it.
She emptied her dresser drawers. She turned her pockets inside out. She got down on her hands and knees to look under the china cabinet. Her heart raced with anticipation, but to no avail. It wasn’t in any of these places. Where could it be?
Anyone who has ever lost an item of personal value could sympathize. After all, if a shepherd who has 100 sheep loses one of them, does he not leave the 99 in the open field in order to go after the one that has gone astray? Such was the plight of this woman—one of her silver coins was lost, and she searched fervidly to find it.
Given the height of her apparent zeal and the concern that drove her search, one can imagine the relief she experienced when she finally discovered her lost coin. The item’s actual location matters little in retrospect; the point is that she found it, and great was her joy when she did. So much so that she called together her friends and neighbors, inviting them to rejoice with her for what had happened.
Her search had proven successful. Her efforts had borne fruit. And that which was lost had been found.
Jesus told this story—albeit in far fewer words—in Luke 15 in order to illustrate the joy that heaven experiences when even one sinner repents; when one lost person is found. Indeed, this is why Jesus came. He Himself said, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
Consider the implications of this statement in light of Jesus’ parable of the lost coin. The effort to which that woman went in order to find her lost coin—turning her house upside down for the sole purpose of locating one coin—represents the effort to which Jesus went in order to save lost people. And just as the woman searched wholeheartedly for that coin—zealously driven by concern for its wellbeing—so Jesus searches wholeheartedly for sinners.
Paul writes in Philippians 2:6-8,
… Although He existed in the form of God, [Christ Jesus] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
This is what Jesus did in order to find lost people. These are the lengths to which He went so that the lost would be found. Indeed, this is what He did for you. And because such work was accomplished, His people, led and empowered by His Spirit, may now go forth as evangelists, carrying the Gospel of salvation for the lost.
In light of this, consider the significance of the recent finding of these lost people through the evangelism efforts of Southwestern Seminary this semester:
- Jazmine and Armando, who accepted Christ in a university food court (Sept. 26)
- Benjamin, who heard the Gospel alongside his mother and then called upon the name of the Lord for salvation (Sept. 28)
- Basilio, a 29-year-old man who lives on the north side of Fort Worth, who met the Lord while taking a walk in a park (Sept. 29)
- Reuben and Christian, two 15-year-old high school students who accepted the Lord on a cold October afternoon (Oct. 27)
- Lenora, who has seven daughters, ages 2-17 (Nov. 3)
- David, a 31-year-old father of four who had a stroke six years ago (Nov. 3)
- Jesse and Michelle, a young couple who made a profession of faith in their car and whose daughter was with them and witnessed their spiritual rebirth (Nov. 17)
As the woman earnestly sought her lost coin, so Jesus earnestly sought each of these individuals. The effort that she exerted in order to find her coin is but a hint of the lengths to which Jesus went in order to “find” these people—indeed, He died on a cross for them!
And just as the woman and her friends and neighbors rejoiced when the lost coin was found, so the angels of heaven rejoiced when each of these people was saved. For they were lost, but now they are found. Jesus had sought them out for that very purpose. And each of these occasions was marked with a heavenly celebration. What an amazing Savior! Praise the Lord!
In its immediate context, the parable of the lost coin was told so that the Pharisees and teachers of the law would understand Jesus’ ministry. In considering that parable ourselves, may we, too, understand Jesus’ ministry, not only to better appreciate what He did, but also to grasp how His ministry now plays out through us. Our amazing Lord earnestly seeks to save the lost; may we do likewise. Heaven rejoices when one sinner repents; may we do likewise. And may we praise the God who emptied Himself; came into this world, taking the form of a servant; and humbled Himself even to death on a cross so that we, the lost, would be found.