To read the texts click on the texts: Rom 14:7-12; Lk 15:1-10
While the parable of the Lost Sheep, which makes up part of our text today, is also found in the Gospel of Matthew, the parable of the Lost Coin is found only in the Gospel of Luke. Also the setting for the parable of the Lost Sheep is different in Matthew and Luke. Whereas in Matthew it is part of the Community Discourse, in Luke it is told in the context of Jesus’ table fellowship. i.e. his eating with tax collectors and sinners, .and the murmurings of the Pharisees and the scribes because of this act.
In the first story of the Gospel text of today, the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine sheep to go in search of the lost one. The joy of finding the lost sheep is compared with the joy that God “feels” over the repentance of one sinner. By implication, Jesus’ action in accepting sinners and eating with them reflects God’s gracious spirit toward those who were held in contempt by the Pharisees and scribes.
The second parable, that of the lost coin features a woman with ten coins. A drachma was a silver coin worth about a denarius, or a day’s wage. Hence ten drachmas was not a great sum of money. This makes it clear that the parable is pointing not to the great monetary value of the coin or loss but to the human reaction to prize what is lost, even if it is of lesser value than what one still possesses. Since in this parable there is no comparison with the other nine coins like there was in the Parable of the Lost Sheep with the ninety-nine who had no need of repentance, the parable focuses even more sharply on God’s joy at the recovery of what had been lost.
The parables therefore seem to focus not on the need for repentance but on the rejoicing and the call to the righteous to join in the celebration. Whether one will join in the celebration will reveal whether one’s relationships are based on merit or mercy. Those who cannot rejoice exclude themselves from God’s grace.