By Lucas Miller
“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And 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 before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:8-10)
AN AGONIZING SEARCH
“Oh this house is too dark,” says the old woman, wringing her hands. “How will I find anything in this mess?” she wonders. “I can’t believe it’s gone. It was just here yesterday. Surely it’s here somewhere, I just need some light!” she exclaims.
You see, this old woman has lost a very large chunk of money. Some would say a significant portion of her livelihood has suddenly gone missing. If she doesn’t find it, things could quickly go very wrong. Jesus says this, “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?” Again this old woman has lost something very near and dear to her, in fact her whole life rests upon finding this single coin. So what does she do?
She lights a lamp and starts cleaning her house from top to bottom. The woman sweeps every nook and cranny she has in her home. She gets down on her hands and knees and searches through the dust, dirt, and crumbs on the floor. And then, out of the corner of her eye, she sees something twinkle on the floor across the room. She’s fearful. After all, she doesn’t want to get too excited, in the event it might be something else. So she reluctantly stands, walks dreadfully slowly across the room, she stoops down, scoops up handfuls of dirt, sifts through it, and much to her great relief and surprise, it is her coin!
Granted this coin is covered in dirt–it may have lost its luster and shine but it’s still her treasure. Here we get to see her experience great joy! When she finds the coin, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost!” The old woman rejoices; the old woman celebrates. The old woman has found her coin. And we can’t help but celebrate with her. We all know that feeling of finding something we have lost and feared we’d never find.
What’s the big deal? It’s only a coin. Can’t she just get a job or borrow another from someone? Perhaps, but that’s not the point. Jesus explains, “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” This parable is about a coin, but by now you probably realize that you are the coin!
YOU’VE BEEN FOUND
You believe that you have been freshly minted. You believe you have been crafted from the finest silver and nickel. You believe that you have been shined to a luminous bright silver finish, but your sin has quickly taken away your luster. You have begun to tarnish. Dirt, dust, and grime begin to fill in the lines that once defined your worth. Soon your color fades and you become black and green from the filth that now covers you. To make matters worse, you have fallen off the table onto the dirt floor where dust and food crumbs cover you. Truthfully this is where you deserve to stay. You deserve to remain buried under layers of dirt because of your sins. Yet once again you have a faithful Caretaker. You have a faithful old woman who searches high and low for you. You have a Savior who gladly shines forth His great light of truth and gets down on His hands and knees to search over the floor to find you. You have a Savior who rejoices when He finds you. You have a Savior who washes you clean. You have a Savior who picks away all the dirt and polishes you to His glory.
But you ask, “How does He find me?” He comes to you through the Word of God–both the Law and Gospel which lead you to faith. In faith you’re able to repent and receive the Holy Spirit and absolution from the Father who frees you. The Father washes you in Baptism, where you are baptized into Christ and the Holy Spirit, who cleanses you from all the dirt of sin you inherited and collected along the way. And finally you are found, forgiven, and refreshed by the Body and Blood of Christ–the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world and greatest treasure that blood could buy. Here you are able to rejoice. Here you are able to experience unceasing joy. Here you receive life. Here you receive freedom. Here you receive Christ. For you once were lost but now you are found!
Rev. Lucas Miller was a pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pierce, NE from 2016-2018. He suffered a stroke and is currently recovering and staying home with my family. He lives in Plainview, NE.