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The Lost Sheep, Lost Coin And Lost Son

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During Jesus' life he was teaching in many different ways one of them was telling the parables. Parable is an earthly story with the heavenly meaning. That means that Jesus was making up a story in which there would be a real people, working of doing something that was common at that times. Sometimes he used the values whether material or spiritual, that were valuable in old times. So he was making everything to make the story look more realistic. But under the close of the poor man or woman and under the animal or a subject there was always something mach more complicated, something about his father, himself, and the people that were following the God or not.

Jesus was telling the parable pretty often, usually the audience was tax collectors and the "lost" people that were passing by and stopped to listen Jesus' stories. He told so many of them, but I think that the most important parables are about The Lost Sheep, Lost Coin and Lost Son. Because, that are the parables where he shows that God Loves the Sinners. Those parables can be read only in Luke. The Lost Sheep and Lost Coin are almost certainly thematically related, along with the parable of The Lost Son, which follows them. Many people are thinking that The Lost Sheep and Lost Coin are actually a double parable. The Russian Bible proves it. In it those parables are written under the same heading.

Luke places these parables as an address to both tax collectors and sinners, and Pharisees and teachers of the law who were grumbling about Jesus' association with those sinners. Thus, the parable becomes a response to the Pharisees' charges as well as an announcement of the joy of finding the lost. "Joachim Jeremias includes the parable of the lost coin as an "apologetic parable," or a defense against the critics of Jesus."1 So the parables of the lost sheep and lost coin are an apology, or defense, to Jesus' critics, the Pharisees. At the same time, they are a proclamation of the good news to those who are lost.

Reading of the parable is not as easy as it looks at first. Jesus spoke to the people in such a way that they would not understand. He explained what He was saying to only a few, who themselves had difficulty grasping it and sometimes denied it outright. There are a lot of ways to understand or, it is better to say interpret, the parables of Jesus one way and the right one is to listen and to understand what Jesus meant, when he was telling the parable taking in consideration the environment and occasion. And another is to understand a parable like an old story about the God helping the people mentally or something like that.

When you are reading the parable about The Lost Coin for the first time, the meaning of it might look like that to you. The woman had 10 coins and she lost one them she tried to find it really hard, she spend a lot of time searching for it with the lamp and when she finally found the coin she was so happy. She is so poor and god helped her to find it. "God is a good person because he helps poor people " might be your conclusion. Yes the God is good. But the main topic, main idea, of the parable is deeply inside. By the character of a woman Jesus meant himself. By the lost coin he meant a lost person or sinner. The friends and neighbors were probably mentioned there as an Angels. The main thing there is the house: "very dark, lit only by one circular 18 inch window. The floor was packed dirt, covered by dry reeds and rushes."2 that represents the Earth. From the Bible we can see that the lamp was needed to search for a small coin in the house, even in the daytime. That means that Jesus needed "something" to search, for "lost people", something bright and important like fire. And that something had to be the Kingdom of Good. In the old days the coin that the woman lost was called drachma, which was equal to the Roman denarius, and worth about 20 cents today. However, it had the purchasing power of about 20 dollars today, equal to about a day's wages then. The coin was probably worth more than its face value, because it was the custom of a married woman to wear 10 coins on a silver chain as a headdress, similar to our use of a wedding ring. These coins could not be taken away from her to pay a debt. So that shows how much sinner was worth to the God and also that every sinner worth a lot to him.

So I think that the main point here is Jesus pursues the lost sinner UNTIL he finds him because he is valuable to him. When the woman is actually find the coin she is happy and calls the friends and neighbor to tell them that she is happy. It is a picture of Jesus' joy over finding "those who are lost, and returning them to where they belong"3 There is joy over one sinner who repents. There is joy when one who was lost is found.

There might be some other problems in interpreting the gospels. The gospel about The Lost Sheep, at first when I was reading it, it didn't seem to make sense. The guy is losing a sheep and he is trying to find it. When he founds the sheep he is happy. And that's it. Looks like there is no God involved. And everything else looks like just a usual story. But when you think about it. It does have a point in it. "No creature strays more easily than a sheep; none is more heedless; and none so incapable of finding its way back to the flock, when once gone astray."4 No creature is more defenseless than a sheep, and more exposed to be devoured by dogs and wild animals. The sheep is lost and it does not know how to go back to safety. Exactly like sinners do not know how to come back to the God. But they do know that they are lost because how they would've known that they need to come back. So they need a guideline or somebody who will guide them through that journey. And I think in this parable the guideline or this "somebody" is Jesus. Jesus told this parable to show how the Father feels about those who have strayed from him spiritually. Doesn't matter was this a good person or a bad one, and it doesn't matter to him what the man done while he was lost. A good example is the Jesus' disciples; couple of them was tax collectors. In the times of Jesus tax collectors were not considered as a good people because they often were over collecting the taxes that were going straight to their pockets. But they followed Jesus and that means that they were forgiven. Just as a shepherd loves his sheep and has an emotional attachment to them, so our Heavenly Father has an infinitely greater love for the sinner. That he will do everything that he can to find "the lost" and to help him find the right way home, to the place where he won't be the only one, there will be bunch of others, so he won't feel alone.

As for me this parable was the hardest to understand.



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