1. Now all the tax collectors and sinners came near to hear Jesus.
2. And the Jewish writers and Law
teachers complained about this and said, "This man accepts sinners and
eats with them."
3. Now, Jesus spoke this comparison story to them:
4. "Let us use this idea. One man
has one hundred sheep, and one sheep becomes lost. That man will
leave the ninety nine sheep out in the fields alone, and he will go and
search for the one sheep until he finds it.
5. And happens he finds the sheep, he will put the sheep on his shoulders with happiness.
6. The man comes home and invites his
friends and neighbors and says, 'Be-happy with me, because I found my
7. And I tell you, more happiness is in
heaven about one sinner that is sorry, than for ninety nine righteous
people not feeling any sorrow.
8. Or maybe one woman has ten coins and
loses one. She takes a light and sweeps the whole house.
She searches eagerly until she finds that coin.
9. And happens she finds that coin, she
invites her friends and neighbors and says, 'Be-happy with me, because
I found my lost coin.'
10. I tell you, all God's angels in heaven are happy to see one sinner is sorry."
Why did Jesus tell these stories?
Religious people, high religious officials,
saw Jesus associating with "bad people."
What kind of bad people?
"Tax collectors and sinners."
Why was tax collecting bad?
We know many deaf people working for the IRS.
Is that bad?
But back in Jesus' time,
people hated tax collectors for two reasons.
First, tax collectors worked for the foreign Roman rulers.
People felt that tax collectors were TRAITORS.
Second, many tax collectors charged too much.
They required more than they should,
and they kept the extra money for themselves.
And the sinners were who?
Thieves and prostitutes.
They were friends with Jesus.
So the "good" religious people criticized Jesus.
Jesus answer them,
telling them three stories:
The Lost Sheep
The Lost Coin
The Lost Son --
the boy who ran away and then came back.
Those three stories all have the same meaning.
Today we look-at the first two stories,
the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin.
Some of Jesus' stories are hard to understand their meaning.
But these two stories are easy,
because Jesus Himself explains them.
||= God, also Christians who seek lost souls
||= Unbeliever, or a Christian who has wandered
A famous example of a lost sheep was the man who wrote the song:
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch [sinner] like me.
I once [ago] was lost, but now I'm found,
Was blind, but now I see.
The man who wrote that was John Newton, in country of England.
His mother was a strong Christian.
His father was a navy officer.
His mother died while John was a teenager.
He went to college and learned philosophy that rejected God
and mocked Christians.
John became a skilled debater and he could beat any Christian in arguments about religion.
He lived wild so he didn't succeed in school,
so he worked with his father in the navy on a ship.
But he continued living wild in the navy,
so they kicked him out of the navy
and he transferred to ship that carried slaves
from Africa to the island near America.
He lived in Africa. There he bought and sold slaves.
His father invited John to move back home,
but he wanted to stay in Africa. So he said, NO.
One ship captain, a friend of his father, found John
and told him that a rich relative died
and left him a lot of money,
and that he must come back to England
to get that money.
That was a lie -- a trick to get John on the boat back to England.
One the way, the ship hit a bad storm.
John saw a wave push a man into the ocean; he drowned.
That really scared John.
The boat starting leaking badly. Water came into the boat.
John helped fix the leaks, but he was still worried.
He told the captain,
"If that doesn't work, God have mercy on us all!"
John's own words shocked him. He thought,
"Can God have mercy on me?"
When the captain complained that someone on the ship was "JONAH", John became more scared.
John promised God that he will try to become a better person.
But when he failed, he understood that he can only trust God's mercy and forgiveness.
John Newton became a strong Christian.
Then he became a strong pastor,
and he fought to end the English slave business.
Imagine the celebration in heaven when John trusted Christ!
Now, back to Jesus' story...
||= religious people (Christians?)
||= evangelism, mission, sharing Jesus with lost people
|Finding the sheep/coin
||= God saves the lost people
|= God's joy
What does this story mean for US?
What is Jesus telling us to do?
Yes, He is telling us to feel His concern for lost people.
He doesn't want us to sit comfortably in our church-box.
He wants us to go and seek lost people,
as the shepherd sought his lost sheep,
as the woman sought her lost coin.
He wants to pray for friends and people in our family
who don't know Jesus.
We have one more lesson we can learn in these stories.
Many years ago, one woman name Elvira Nachtigal grew up in Russia.
She wrote about her experience. She said:
Sunday I went to church with my parents. I went to church youth
meetings, and I prayed and read the Bible. I looked like my
Christian friends. I talked and acted like a Christian believer.
But I was not a Christian.
I kept this secret hidden very well. I was afraid to tell anyone the truth because everyone thought I trusted Christ.
in my own heart I was not the same as my friends. Yes, I believed that
God existed, but He meant nothing to me personally. I tried to live
like a Christian, but inside I was not at all satisfied.
For three years I felt this inner struggle. Then one Sunday when I was 18 years old, I heard a sermon that changed my life.
pastor spoke about the parable of the lost coin. The woman in the story
searched for her coin a long time. And, as the pastor explained, the
coin was lost where? Not on the street. Not in the garbage.
Not anywhere outside. That coin was lost in the home. An it
didn't matter that the coin was in the home all the time.
That coin was still lost, because it was not connected to the woman --
it had no relationship to her.
pastor explained that it is the same way with people. It is not
necessary for a person to be deeply involved in sin -- "outside on the
street" -- for him to be lost. A person can be in a Christian home, in
a family of believers, going to church worship. But if that
person he has no relationship to Christ, he is still lost.
pastor's words touched my heart deeply, because he described me
exactly. I remember going back home from church with my parents, and
telling them the thoughts on my heart. They quietly knelt down and
prayed with me while I asked God to forgive all my sins and to take
complete control of my life. In that minute, and for the first time in
my life, I experience forgiveness and peace."*
Maybe you can understand Miss Nachtigal's experience,
and you suspect that you are a "lost coin,"
in a Christian church,
maybe in a Christian family,
but you are still lost,
because you don't have a relationship with Christ.
You haven't-yet responded this His invitation to trust Him.
Now is a good time to do that.
*Elvira Nachtigal's story was
printed in a 1977 newsletter of the Far Eastern Broadcasting
Company. The text here is revised for easy Signing.