Ever been lost? It's not much fun, is it? There's a great feeling of relief when someone cares enough to search for you and find you. Today's episode is going to explore the parables of the lost coin and the lost sheep. It's also going to talk about redemption and how God rejoices when a lost one of His ... is found.
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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to the Sweet Selah moments podcast. We hope this little pause in your day, refreshes and encourages you friend. Let’s take time to know God through his word and love him more and more. This Sweet Selah moments podcast is brought to you by Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.
Welcome to episode 40 The Joy of Being Found. We have finished our Easter series and are going to now explore some of the parables of Jesus. We are starting with the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. Sharon, have you ever experienced the joy of being found? Or, have you ever been lost first?
Which one would need to be in order to be found. I remember a time when I was in England as a little girl, because my mother would take us back there of course, to visit her parents. And we’d gone to the ocean on the North Sea for a vacation and the blanket and the umbrellas and everything was set up really close to the water. And I was only like five years old, but they let me go, you know, three feet to the water and paddle about and have fun. Well somehow I must have walked down stream a little bit and I looked to where the blanket should be and the umbrella and it wasn’t, there were strangers there.
Oh my goodness.
And my little heart just started beating so fast because not only did I not know where my mother was, I was not even in my own country, you know?
And we were new there. We’d only been there a few days and we’d gone to this vacation so I didn’t know where anybody was. And then fog came in. And so it got really foggy as well. Nicole, I was, I still can remember the panic.
Oh, my heart is panicking for you.
Yes, calling ‘Mummy, Mummy” calling my mother. And she saw me cause I probably was like still within sight, but I couldn’t see her. And the hearing of her voice and the running, running, running to the right blanket. I’ll just never forget it. It was the sweetest feeling to be found, and to feel safe again, you know, after sort of wandering in the wilderness of the beach in England, two feet probably from my mother. How about you?
Oh, same thing as a kid. And not quite as prolonged as your poor beach excursion, but just being in the store and you’re looking at something you look up and that sheer horror of not seeing your parents and you look at the next aisle and they’re not there and you kind of panic and then you hear them like two aisles up. And it’s just this wave of relief and you see them and it’s like, your world has been righted.
It is. The familiarity of the face.
Yeah, it’s just safe and home. It’s like, okay, whew. But it’s terrifying, at first, it really is to be lost.
It’s no fun at all.
No, I know. I tend to get very lost with driving too. I’ve called my dad so many times crying on the side of the road, Daddy, I took the wrong exit and there’s no places to ask directions and he would calmly, you know, help me find my way back. So GPS’s, are a godsend for this girl.
They are. You know, this is so funny because we keep discovering things we have in common.
Back before GPS, when I would drive down to visit Ray at West Point for the weekend in my car, one time I drove back and it was pouring rain, pouring rain. Somehow when I got on the Mass Turnpike and I needed to take a right and go East I went West.
And it was so rainy that I could hardly read the signs, but I kept looking for the, you know, the right sign to turn off.
Nicole, I went all the way back to New York on the Mass Turnpike.
Oh no, Sharon.
I went two hours the wrong way. This is so embarrassing. How could I do that? I kept thinking, where is the right sign? But it was pouring rain. So I’m thinking I’m just driving slower. I still can’t believe I did it. Ray always says that secretly, I just wanted to be back with him. So then, you know, find a phone booth, call my mom and dad and say I’m in New York, but I’m turned around and I’m coming home. So yeah, yeah. I’m not really good at directions either. Not at all.
So if we ever drive somewhere together, we need a third person to read the map or whatever.
We really do. Exactly. Yes and the GPS better work.
It just better. Well, you know what’s even harder for me than being lost was the time I lost a child. Oh my goodness. And again, it was a travel story because I traveled a lot. Ray had gone ahead of us to Germany and the girls and I were following behind. The dogs were coming with us too, but they’d already been taken away to cargo and we were at Logan Airport. Well, I had a suitcase in one hand and I was holding Mary’s hand. Kathryn was again, four or five. And I just said, you follow Mummy and don’t take your eyes off her. And so she was right behind me with her little suitcase following me and she was a really obedient child. So it wasn’t going to be for that long. So off we go, I turned around and she is completely gone.
In an airport.
Oh my gosh.
In an airport. I — time slowed — see, I can still get emotional about it. Time slowed for me, you know, and I, I became a crazy woman. I was screaming her name and people were helping me look for her. And what had happened was a woman wearing a white shirt and jeans, just like me, made Kathryn, I mean, it wasn’t the woman’s fault. She was just walking, Kathryn thought she was me.
Oh my goodness.
And so she kept her focus on the wrong pair of jeans and white shirt. And she never looked up to my hair because she’s a little kid.
So she was being good as gold following the wrong person.
So anyways, I catch up with her and I wouldn’t let her go. In fact, it was really annoying to her because I was thinking, how am I ever going to tell Ray, I lost a child? You know, it was just awful.
Yeah, oh yeah.
It was awful. So being lost is awful, whether you’re lost or whether something precious or someone precious to you is lost. And that brings us to our story. Okay. So, finding something that is lost is a big deal. I once lost a diamond, which is way less important than losing my daughter, on my engagement ring, and actually found it in the sink next to the drainer.
Oh, no way.
You never usually find those items when they get lost.
Yes, so that was fun. So we’re going to look today at lost things and the joy of finding them again. And in two parables. So Nicole, before we start, because this whole next section in this season is all going to be on parables and kind of dissecting them and figuring out what they mean, define for us, please, what is a parable as we move into the parables?
Yes, well when I researched it I found several different descriptions, but they all seem to be saying that a parable is a simple, usually short, story used to illustrate a spiritual or moral lesson.
I like that.
And they are, they’re short little things, which makes them memorable.
Which is part of the point of a parable. It’s something you don’t forget. In fact, most of our listeners when we said the Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin went, Oh, I know that parable.
Exactly, because you don’t often hear many stories about coins and sheep, so it sticks with you.
That’s right. Yeah, it does. It does. And that’s the point of them. So Jesus often talked in parables and some were fairly easy to understand, but others were so obtuse the disciples had to ask Jesus privately, what on earth did that mean? But they’re always memorable. We read them, they stick in our brains and they were taught with a purpose. So let’s dive into our two ‘lost thing’ parables today. Our Sweet Selah moment today is a reading of Luke 15:1-10, and it’s short, but it packs a powerful punch. So let’s still our hearts and listen, as Nicole reads it for us.
Luke 15:1-10, “Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and the teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people, even eating with them. So Jesus told them this story. If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the 99 others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors saying, ‘rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep’. In the same way there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and turns to God than over 99 others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away. Or suppose a woman has 10 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.”
Hmm, I love that.
Okay. Well, we’re going to divide this reading into sections. And our first section is the context section. Luke clearly states that this parable was told in response to a complaint by the Pharisees and teachers of the law. So Pharisees, teachers of the law, when you hear those terms, what are some words that come to your mind?
Words like legalistic, perfectionist, harsh, condemning. It’s hard not to feel despair when you read what they say. It’s so disheartening because we could never live up to what they say is righteousness. It kind of feels hopeless whenever they lay out what needs to be done, you know?
Yes, it does. It does. On the outside, looking in, they are hugely intimidating. They never forget to ceremonially wash their hands. They have huge chunks of the Torah memorized. They always look put together. They surely appear to be the good guys, but these good guys have a complaint. And I’ll reread what it is. “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.” (I know!) So the other characters of these two verses are the tax collectors and notorious sinners, you know, notorious makes this more interesting.
It, it means they really did have a bad reputation. These aren’t just the average guy that tells a little white lie or cheats a tiny bit on his taxes.
These were the really, really bad guys. I’m trying to think of today’s equivalents, because what they did as tax collectors, if the Roman government required say $10 for every hundred dollars, they’d ask for $20 and they’d take the extra $10 for themselves. So Jewish people that were having a hard time coming up with the $10 are paying double and then watching these guys take their money and build a mansion with it.
They were considered traitors to their people and oppressors, and they were hated. They were absolutely hated.
I can see why.
Yeah, no kidding. They seem to be without conscience or compassion for their own people. So, all right. Today, who are the people without conscience or compassion? Well, scam artists maybe?
Pornographers, drug pushers, embezzlers? I don’t know, who else would really be at that level?
Of notorious sinner?
I would think pedophiles.
Sex traffickers or child abusers?
Yeah. They’re the really bad guys.
So you kind of are like, okay, Pharisees, if I put it in that context, I see why you’re going, ‘what are you doing hanging out with a child abuser’ or whatever? So, so I wonder who was in the crowd that day, Nicole?
I suspect some of those notorious sinners were there and we know the Pharisees and teachers were there, but there were probably just your average citizens too. And they might’ve wondered why on earth Jesus was eating with the wicked people too.
You know, because they’re bad people. You know, I can remember my experience with a scam artist.
I picked up the phone one day and this deep male voice comes on and he says, ‘hello, grandma, this is your grandson. I’m in jail. I need your help’.
Like Gabriel? No, (laughing)
You are laughing because you know that my grandsons are under 10 years of age.
Are little, yes! Wait a minute.
They do not have deep voices. Furthermore, they don’t call me Grandma, they call me Nina. So any scam, artists that are listening, at least get the name right. It’s Nina.
Right. Do your research.
So yes, exactly. So clearly I was being scammed. But it made me so angry because what if somebody older than me, whose grandson did have a deep voice and who called her Grandma, had called? I mean what kind of a rotten person does that?
I was totally repulsed by it and I certainly didn’t want to eat dinner with the guy. And yet these were the ones, scam artists, pedophiles, the wickedest of the wicked that Jesus was teaching and that he ate with. So, but I do have a theory, Nicole, as to why they were listening. It wasn’t, it wasn’t like Jesus had gone out to see them. He’s teaching there. They have chosen to come and listen. So something in these quote ‘notorious sinners’ is turning toward the light. They’re not so filled with evil that they hate him on sight and want to spit on him.
Yeah. They sought him out.
They sought him out.
So, and he’s gonna eat and drink with anyone who is seeking him for sure. So.
That’s great. Oh I think they sought him out so they were ready for repentance. They were looking for that, that light. They probably knew that their life was pretty miserable without him.
They wanted to see what he was about and what he could do for them. So.
Yeah, yeah. They were there. So, okay. Jesus wants the crowd and the complainers, to somehow get that these notorious ones have value. And so we now move to our next section that deals with things that were lost. And obviously these notorious sinners were lost or they wouldn’t be doing those notoriously bad things that were totally lost.
So he tells two stories. One is about valuable property and the other is about a valuable coin. So can you reread Luke 15:3-5? And we’ll talk first about the valuable property.
“So Jesus told them this story. If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the 99 others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it. And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.”
What stands out to you?
I was kind of wondering about the 99 left, to be honest.
Your mercy heart!
What if a wolf came and the shepherd was gone, or more wandered off?
Oh, that’s so cute.
You never know, but the more I read it and pondered it, I figured that if sheep were valuable enough for the shepherd to leave, to go find the one, obviously he wouldn’t have left them, you know, with a pack of wolves nearby.
He probably would have left them taken care of as he went to go seek that lost sheep.
Because he cares for all his sheep.
He does. Well, that must have made you feel better.
Perhaps there was an under shepherd.
Or maybe a really big fierce German Shepherd dog.
He put them in a fenced in area or something, but I was like, what about the other ones?
Oh, that’s so funny. Well, sheep back in those days were valuable, really valuable, so valuable that if even one got lost, you went and found it. And I was trying to think of like, you know, what would be comparable today? And I thought of like maybe a local bike shop, you know, a husband and wife owned bike shop and they don’t have, you know, thousands of bikes and some of their bikes are expensive bikes. Like the kind I wanted to buy till I found out how expensive they were. Have you, I’m sure you know about them, the kind of bicycle that you can turn on a motor, if you’re going up a Hill?
Oh, yes, those are fabulous.
Yeah. Some of the hills around here in New Hampshire are getting a little bit steep for me, my heart races, a little fast when I’m going uphill. And I thought, I want one of those. I won’t use it often, but like at the beginning of the season, until I’ve got my bike legs back, just a little boost up the hill.
Yeah, right. Just a little boost up the hill.
Two to $5,000. Most of them, four to $5,000 range.
Wow. Definitely not cheap.
Yeah, so we’re not, Ray and I are definitely not getting motorized bikes.
Still puffing up those hills for awhile.
Yeah. If you want a small store and you have a hundred, $5,000 bikes, and one of them’s missing that matters to you because that’s your profit margin maybe for the month. And so you’re looking for it. You’re looking in your inventory. It was valuable. And I think that’s the point of this parable, was sheep are valuable. Sheep are valuable. And so are those sinners. So, okay. So now I’m going to read Luke 15:8, about the lost coin, “Or suppose a woman has 10 silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it?”
So my Bible’s footnotes say that the 10 silver coins in Greek were 10 drachmas and a drachma is the equivalent of a full day’s wage.
Oh yeah. That’s interesting.
Yeah, it is. And so I’m like, well, what is a full day’s wage? So I looked it up. In America in 2019, $19.33 an hour was an average day’s wage, which translates into about $40,000 a year. And so I multiplied it out with my handy calculator and it translates to $154.64. So if you had $150 coin and you lost it, would you not take out a broom and look?
Oh, absolutely. I think I’d get my kids in on it. ‘Girl’s search there, look here, pick that up’!
Yes, yes, absolutely. I will give a reward for the $150 coin.
So, so what this tells me and what I think Jesus is saying in this parable is these notorious wicked sinners, and we’ve just talked about some of the notorious ones of today and they make your skin crawl. They were of great value to Jesus.
Wow. I’ll be honest. That’s a hard truth to hear, especially when you insert pedophile as a sinner in that verse.
It’s hard. It’s not your first response.
It is, right.
To feel that they have value.
Uh huh. And I think that’s why we had to kind of find a modern day equivalent so that we could enter in to what the Pharisees were thinking and how Jesus treats people who turn, even a pedophile who’s listening.
You know? So, well, as if this wasn’t enough that Jesus would go search and want to find the lost ones, no matter how notorious they were. He also talks about what happens when a sinner turns and repents and asks God’s forgiveness in humility. So our third section talks about heaven’s response to really, really bad people turning and repenting because that also might not be our response. Our response might be wait a second. They don’t deserve heaven. You know, they were so bad. So hear these verses as Nicole and I read and marvel at heaven’s response to the really super bad guy who repents.
Just much better than our response.
So Luke 15:5-7, “And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors saying, ‘rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep’. In the same way there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over 99 others who were righteous and haven’t strayed away.”
Hmm. And Luke 15:9-10, “And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say ‘rejoice with me. I found it. I found my lost coin’. In the same way there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”
Can you imagine that, Sharon? I can’t even imagine that, like they’re angels, they should have these important missions from God and they’re fighting demons and they stop and throw a party every time a sinner, even ones that we consider the really bad sinners, when they come back to God, they rejoice. What extravagant joy that must be for them to celebrate like that?
It’s just beautiful.
And what extravagant love.
That they would love the soul and the heart of the wicked one, enough to want him to turn back before it’s too late.
I know. And we were those lost sheep at one time. Before Christ, we were those notorious sinners.
And they rejoiced when we came to Jesus.
They did. They threw a party for us.
And there’s great rejoicing because God’s longing is that no one be lost, no one. And you know, Nicole often the really bad guys have been really bruised by life. I can remember when Kathryn was doing foster care.
One of the little ones that she had, had seen more ugliness in four short years of living, had been in and out of more homes because he was so violent. Even then he was so disturbed by what had been done to him and my heart broke for him. And I even thought, Lord, is there any way for him to ever get past all this horribleness that has been done to him? It broke my heart because he was four.
And when I think of the pedophile, who’s 44, I have a hardened heart towards him, but he might be that four year old who got tossed from place to place to place with no one that wanted to keep him and just withdrew more and more into himself. Now, does that justify his sin? No. His sin is wicked and evil and needs to be punished. And God himself says, you do something to a child it’s better for you to have a millstone tied around your neck and be tossed into the sea. God cares too. But he also cares for the little four year old living inside the 44 year old. And if that 44 year old turns and like throws up thinking of the grossness of what he’s done and shakes and says, I’m not worthy. I’m not worthy. I’m not worthy. That’s repentance, turning from sin. Our God throws a party because he’s finally home. You know, he’s finally home.
What a beautiful picture. I know.
But l actually have to go back to that four year old picture in my mind, in order to have the compassion I need to have for the hardened evil guy.
Yeah, I’m right there with you.
Mr. Scam Artist that says ‘hey Grandma’, you know?
It’s amazing that God can see beyond our sin. We see the sin. We’re so blinded by the sin, you know, but God can see our hearts. And he knows when a sinner is truly repentant.
And he can clean us and give us that, that wonderful life with him.
Yes. And his, his love is so strong for all of us, ‘for God’s so loved the world’.
The whole world.
That He wants us all to come and we really don’t know the backstory of a lot of these.
No we don’t.
They still need to be stopped. They still need to be punished, but they still need to be loved and they still need Jesus.
So, ah, so how about you? Have you ever felt that joy, that heavenly joy of leading someone to Jesus?
Yeah. When I was a teenager, we had done a missions’ trip to New York, to one of the poorer areas there. And we had done our little VBS program with the kids. And one of the little girls was sitting with me and I was showing her some Bible verses and she just looked at me and she said, I want to pray. I want Jesus in my heart. And I was, I was so excited and so nervous and I was afraid, you know, all this was happening at once and we prayed together. And when she was done, she just looked at me and like the joy in her eyes. Like I just, I was so overwhelmed because I was so young and this first experience of being with someone as they found Christ was just beautiful.
There is joy.
I’ll never forget it. Yeah.
You just became a new person.
Before my eyes,
Yeah, you almost get a glimpse of heaven. Like, I don’t know. It’s just a small, pure joy.
And also I’ve prayed with a few of my girls and I don’t think there is a better experience in life as a parent than to be able to pray with your child to receive Christ. Like what, what can top that?
Nothing could top that.
They’re His now like, yes. You’re safe. You’re done. I’ve done my job.
But that’s right. The most important thing in the world is you’ve chosen Christ and I’m going to see you in heaven.
Oh, that’s awesome.
That’s awesome. Well, I teach a class called Christianity Explained, and it’s a six week course. And it’s for non-Christians to just explain Christianity to them. It’s very gentle. It’s low pressure. It’s sort of based on, 1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared for an answer for the reason for your faith, but do it with gentleness and respect.”
Don’t smack ‘um with the Bible.
Right, don’t smack ‘um. So I just take them through the gospel of Mark and, you know, talk about it. It’s so much fun to have people that have never read the Bible, read the gospel of Mark and come back with the most fascinating questions because it’s all new to them.
You see things through totally different lens when you’re with people, seeing it for the first time. So I love it. I love it so, so much. And I can remember one particular occasion. I got to the last lesson and we don’t, you know, make people pray the prayer, or anything like that at all. But I share the prayer. I just say, you know, I’m explaining Christianity, this is how you would become a Christian. You repent. And I talk about repentance and then I talk about, you know, saving faith and what you would pray. And so one of the women who was not a believer said, well, can we pray it now?
And I’m like, YES. And then a couple of others said, I want to pray too.
Oh my goodness.
So there we were.
It gives me goosebumps.
There we were, you know? And the joy was great in that little room as these women bowed their heads and said, don’t make us wait, we want this. We want to be a child of God. Reading the Word has changed our hearts. And, you know, I almost missed it because I didn’t want to pressure.
Right. Right. You don’t want to make it not authentic.
Right, so beautiful. So beautiful.
Oh, that’s awesome.
So, well, I love how Jesus attributed great value to those who are mired in the yuckiest of sins, but who dared to come into the light to listen and learn. No one is too far gone for God. Listener, if you want to hear more about how to belong to him yourself, I recommend listening to episode seven of this podcast, Becoming His. I tell you what, there is no greater joy than when you are lost and wandering and so very alone. And then you find out that God has come to find you and lead you home. Whether you are a Christian who has wandered or a person in the crowd, as it were, peering in, the God who made you wants you to be a part of his forever family. Let me pray for you, and for all of us. Heavenly Father, your extravagant love moves me. Thank you that all humans are valuable to you and worth the searching for and finding. Lord, if anyone is listening today, who needs to turn to you, gently lead them. Welcome them, help those of us who do know you to be active in our love for every soul you place in our paths, knowing you are not wanting anyone to perish, but for all to come to you for the free gift of salvation and life eternal. We worship you, Holy God, who loves us, despite all our flaws and who wants us to come. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Amen. It’s always a rich time when we open the Bible and dig deep into his word. And today was no exception. I’m so glad you listened in. Sharon and I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on these podcasts. Please rate us so more people can find us. Come visit us at SweetSelah.org/podcasts, and leave a comment there. If you want to be a podcast partner and get our special emails, join the gang by going to Sweet Selah.org/donations and start a monthly contribution. It can be tiny. We’d love even one or two dollars each month. Put in the comments that you are a podcast partner, and we will be in touch with deep gratitude. And do come back next week for episode 41 as we look at the story of two lost sons and the father who loved them both. It’s called Heart Check, and we’re going to do a checkup on our own hearts. Until then have a wonderful week.
Speaker 1 (30:27):
We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. Sweet Selah Moments is a co-operative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast, including show notes can be found at sweetselah.org and at wordradio.net. Thank you for joining us.hank you for joining us.
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