Parables About Riches
Note: This parable is not about riches, but it’s listed here because it parallels the story of The Lost Coin)
“Now all the tax collectors and the sinners (came to listen to Jesus). (But) the Jewish leaders (grumbled), “This man receives sinners and eats with them.“
“(When someone) has a hundred sheep and (loses one he goes), after the one which is lost until he finds it. “When he has found it, he (rejoices). “(Then) he calls together his friends…saying…, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ “In the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
The Jewish leaders mistakenly believed that their personal righteousness depended on separation from sinners. When they did sin, they thought they could become righteous again by performing the prescribed religious ritual. For them, one way to avoid contact with sin was to separate themselves from people they judged as sinners. They would never fellowship with a sinner. But Jesus didn’t fear sinners, and the Jewish leaders couldn’t understand His actions. Jesus explained why He fellowshipped with them in this and other parables.
The Lost Coin (15:8-9)
This parable uses a different illustration but teaches the same lesson as The Lost Sheep.
“Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not…search carefully until she finds it? “When she has found it, she calls together her friends…, saying, ‘Rejoice with me…. In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
The faithful Jews wondered why Jesus paid more attention to sinners than those obedient to God. No one is righteous, but some, especially the Jewish leaders, thought they were. God seeks His people, but everyone needs to repent, not just those who look more sinful to the arrogant Jewish leaders.