Dr Justine Toh, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Public Christianity, shares with us a personal reflection on the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, provoking us toward self-reflection and humility.
What difference does one lost coin really make?
Why would anyone go to great effort to find one small coin when you already have plenty? Why would anyone make a sacrifice to find one insignificant thing that doesn’t seem worth the expense?
In today’s video teaching, Dr Kate Harrison Brennan, CEO of Anglican Deaconess Ministries, reflects on the peculiar concepts in the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. In these parables Jesus tells two stories which simply don’t seem to make any sense. In each story the central character goes to great lengths to search for something which most people would not think possible to find, or frankly, even worth the effort.
As we come face to face with the cost paid to give us life, we are challenged to live out the same love for the lost and the marginalised: truly respecting their inherent worth and dignity as people who have been found against all odds. Just like us.
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Today's Reading: Luke15:3-10
3 So he told them this parable: 4 “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
8 “Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbours, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Engaging with the story:
Create some space this week to re-read the parables (Luke 15:3-10). When reading the parables imagine yourself in the story or teaching.
Where would you stand? What do your surroundings look like? What can you smell or hear? What would you ask Jesus?
Imagine yourself as the woman, leaving nothing untouched in your search for one coin that others would discard. Imagine yourself as the solitary sheep: thinking yourself forgotten you are found by someone who relentlessly pursued you.
Reflect and Pray:
To marginalise means to treat a person or group as insignificant or peripheral. Jesus’ parables contain both an invitation and a challenge: to participate in the Kingdom of God, here and now. How do we do this? By prioritising the marginalised. By celebrating their great worth and value, in a world where they are otherwise discarded. By taking risks to find, connect with and celebrate them.
Who are the “lost” people, easily overlooked and discounted?
What is challenging about the idea of going to great lengths to recover these “lost”?
What is it like to consider yourselves as being lost and easily overlooked? How does it change the way you view others?
Pray for open hearts and eyes to see those who are discarded and viewed as insignificant. Pray for and encourage one another to view the “lost” as equal, significant people. People worth rejoicing over. People just like us.
Dr Kate Harrison Brennan is the CEO of Anglican Deaconess Ministries, working to see women flourish in Kingdom work.
This series has been produced by Common Grace and Bible Society Australia.