“Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?
Jesus is a master storyteller. There is a place for everyone in the weaving of it.
In His story of the lost sheep he invites his audience to step into the sandals of a shepherd.
Every upstanding citizen knows that a shepherd barely has a high school education which is probably why he had to take the job of shepherd in the first place. Every upstanding citizen knows no ambition equals low position.
In the second chapter, Jesus invites his audience to step into the sandals of a woman.
This is downright scandalous.
No righteous man wants to step into the sandals of a woman, especially one who has lost a precious coin. A coin that may have slipped off the cord that threaded it to the other nine coins she was saving for her dowry, her only security and provision for the rest of her natural born life. A coin that must be found at all costs, lest she lose all prospects of a stable future…relationship, children, a home.
It is not enough for this woman to light a lamp and crawl on all fours to look with her eye. She needs a tool, a broom, to get into every corner, crack and crevice. To sweep away dirt and debris to find what is most precious. To rejoice over what was once lost.
Arguably men are not as persistent when it comes to looking for certain things. But a woman…especially if it has deep sentimental value, will pull apart the couch, the junk drawer, the last box at the very end of the attic and shake her purse upside down and sideways until she finds what she is looking for. Perhaps it was the same in ancient times.
In the first chapter, Jesus had compared God to a shepherd.
But now…now he’s comparing God to a woman.
God who, like a woman on a recovery mission, gets down into the scum of humanity’s floor and sweeps away sin’s dirt and debris to find what is most precious to Him. Us scoundrels.
Perhaps this is the part of the story where sweat begins to form under the priestly garment. Perhaps this is where the upright become uptight.
Perhaps the realization is beginning to sink in that everyone is invited into God’s kingdom.
Even shepherds. Even women. Scandalous indeed.
This cannot be possible.
Too much grace is just too much.
Something must be done. A plan must be nailed down.
In the broiling and simmering and sweating of the uptight upright, Jesus hits them with his tagline once more.
“In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.”
Despite knowing His time on earth is short, and perhaps sensing the lips grimacing and the eyebrows furrowing, Jesus plays the joy card again.
This time He brings the angels into it.
All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost.– J.R.R. Tolkien