Since January, we’ve been studying the teaching parables of Jesus. We have looked at the eight parables about the kingdom of God; the four parables about service and obedience; the two parables about prayer; the parable about neighbours; the two parables on humility and the three parables about wealth.
Today we will be looking at the Gospel Parables. There are two groups of parables that talks about the Gospel. We have three parables that teaches about God’s love and one that teaches about thankfulness.
The first two parables that teaches about God’s love are the Parable of The Lost Sheep found in Matthew 18:12-14 and Luke 15:3-7; and the Parable of The Lost Coin found in Luke 15:8-10. In order not to make this post too long, i decided not to include the bible text. Please click on the bible passages above to read.
One of the questions often raised about the parable of the lost sheep is; why leave the 99 sheep to chase for one?
It may seem foolish for the shepherd to leave 99 sheep to go search for just one. But the shepherd knows that the 99 would be safe in the fold. It is safer to be within a community than being alone. The one that is lost is in danger because s/he is detached from community. The devil sees that person as a target because s/he is vulnerable.
I’m going to digress a little bit and speak on the importance of being in a community of believers. I liken being in a church community to a burning coal. Every coal connected to that burning coal is lit up and together they burn. When a coal is separated from the fire, it will stay burning but not for long because it is separated for the communal heat. Does this mean that everyone who stops attending church backslides? Of course not. But many do.
I say this because there is a very bad message going around where the church is being sold as a hostile environment to be in. People explain this based on their personal experiences. Church hurt is something many people have experienced including myself. If Jesus had Judas what makes us think that there is a perfect church? Of course i’m not making light of people’s pain which they experienced in the church but i don’t like the idea of “discouraging” people from going to church or belonging to a church. I know that the church is not the building and we are the church but I think you understand what i mean.
I also describe the church as a building with different rooms. I refer to these rooms as the different churches and denominations. I believe that we can change our rooms but we shouldn’t leave the building. I personally do not understand why someone who loves Jesus will be very comfortable with the idea of not belonging to a church community. I have experienced things that should have made me stop going to church but i lie if i say i haven’t experienced tremendous blessings from church family. So when we speak about the church, it’s important we share a balanced view of her. The same place where we have been hurt the most, can also be the same place where we have experienced our greatest blessings.
Now back to the parables. The shepherd went to seek for the lost sheep because the search was worthwhile. This is why Jesus keeps reaching out to the lost. His love is so great that He seeks out each one and rejoices when he or she is found. God often uses us as vessels in the salvation process. This is why it is very important for us to live right because our examples of love, acts of kindness and our words of evangelism can bring back the lost sheep. This is not to say we save people. Jesus does but He sometimes uses us to accomplish this amazing task.
The Palestinian women received 10 silver coins as a wedding gift. Besides their monetary value, these coins held sentimental value like of a wedding ring, and to lose one would be extremely distressing. Just as a woman would rejoice at finding her lost coin, so the angels rejoice over a repentant sinner because each one of us is precious to God. He grieves over every loss and rejoices whenever one if found and brought back to the fold. We would have more joy in our churches if we shared Jesus’ love and concern for the lost, diligently seeking them, and rejoicing when they come to the Saviour.
Next week we will be looking at the parable of the lost son.
If you would like to read previous parables, please click here.