The previous posts of this series give the context for this sort of out of the box interpretation of this parable in Luke 15:8-10. I recommend you read those first.
The Spirit lights the way for outer circle saints to seek outer circle sinners
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10
Of the three, this tiny parable is probably the least familiar and its interpretation a little up for grabs. Each one of these stories seems to feature a different Member of the Trinity. Jesus stars in the lost sheep story as the Shepherd and the Father plays the protagonist in the prodigal son parable. I propose that in this one the Holy Spirit is depicted by the lamp that lights the way for the woman who is on a quest to find her lost coin. To my mind, the woman herself represents the Church – the Bride of Christ – who, in the light of the Spirit, fervidly searches for lost, but priceless people.
Like the Church in collaboration with the Spirit, she goes on a vigorous hunt for her lost coin. Beginning with the widest circle of her influence and with the Holy Spirit’s help she does everything she can to recover lost souls. This brings to mind one of the Bible’s final statements where we’re said to harmonize with the song of the Spirit as we call out to all lost but valuable souls: “The Spirit and the Bride of Christ say, ‘Come!’” (Revelation 22:17)
Together the three parables portray a balanced approach to how lost people are found. In the lost sheep story the Shepherd (Jesus) does all the finding, which highlights the Calvinist approach to salvation. In the prodigal parable the father, instead of going out after his son, he waits till the boy comes to his senses and returns home. This sounds more Arminian where human responsibility is key. In the parable of the lost coin, the woman seeks and sweeps until she finds it. We might call this the Evangelistic approach, which is the balance point between the two disparate theologies. It helps to remember that we do the proclaiming, the Spirit does the persuading, and people do the partaking (or not).
“… silver coins”
That’s what people are to God – like precious and priceless coins. He’s a Collector. But like a coin lying in the dust, the lost Outer Circler does no one any good. It has intrinsic value. It still has stamped on it the image of the king, but until it’s found and restored to its rightful owner it benefits no one. Like the sheep in the Shepherd’s pasture and the son in his Father’s house, the coin has to be at home with its Owner for its value to be realized.
[More to come in the next post on how and why she lights a lamp and sweeps the house carefully until she finds it…]
How do you view people, especially those who are buried under a mound of dirt and dust? Are they priceless gems with the image of the King still on them or something much less?
How willing are you to sweep the house until you uncover them and bring them home to their rightful owner?