The Parable of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin & the Lost Son (3) – The Lost Coin
Luke / Chapter 15 / V8-10
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 neighbours 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. ~Lk 15:8-10
Why is the Holy Spirit rarely being mentioned in the Bible? Could this be an oversight by the authors of the Bible? Or perhaps it is a mistake of omission? The Holy Spirit who inspired the Bible would definitely not forget Himself, unless it is intentional - that the Holy Spirit has deliberately concealed Himself.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. ~Jn 16:13-14
The Holy Spirit is one of the persons in the Trinity; co-equal to God the Father and God the Son in status, honour and majesty. However, the Holy Spirit does not glorify Himself but the Son, for that is His office and purpose. Thus, we should not oppose the will of the Holy Spirit to focus our attention upon Him, rather we should ascribe all the honour and glory to Jesus Christ, for He alone should be exalted. Not exalting the Holy Spirit does not mean that we are being disrespectful, on the contrary, we are in fact obeying His will. But we should not fall into the other extreme to ignore the teachings related to the Holy Spirit. We must know the Holy Spirit well to guard against being deceived by the evil spirit who masquerades as an angel of light. For to exalt the Holy Spirit is to go against His will and to ignore the teachings on the Holy Spirit is to fall into the Devil’s snare.
The power of the Holy Spirit is infinite and without limits, creating the world in just six days (Ge 1). We are amazed at His omnipotence, it will never strike us that the Holy Spirit would get tired or feel exhausted. God the Son sacrificed His life on the cross to save sinners, how then does the Holy Spirit save a sinner from Hell to Heaven? The parable of the lost coin describes the Holy Spirit’s work in saving a soul.
The woman in the parable had lost one of her silver coins and was probably advanced in age. The house she lived in was dim, so she lit a lamp, squinted her eyes, bent her back and began using a broom to sweep intently around the house in search of the lost silver coin. The entire house was dark and the coin was small, making it even harder to find the coin. The woman held the lamp with one hand and the broom with the other, and she swept from corner to corner, end to end, peering into every crack and crevice. Fatigue began to set in, but it was never in her mind to give up searching for the coin, no matter how difficult it was. Just when it came to the point of exhaustion and suddenly, she caught a glimpse of a faint glimmer in a dark corner. It was the lost coin! Overwhelmed with joy, she bent down and picked up the lost coin and held it tightly in her hands. The woman had laboured painstakingly in search of this silver coin, thus upon finding it, she called her friends and neighbours together to celebrate and share in her joy.
The Holy Spirit seeks for sinners lost in this world of darkness, just like the woman in the parable of the lost coin. He works in the hearts of sinners as a light to illuminate and to guide us, convicting the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgement (Jn 16:8). Just like how the lost silver coin could not return to the woman by itself, similarly, lost sinners in the world are unable to rely on themselves to find their way back to their heavenly home. Therefore, this requires an immense amount of patience by the Spirit to meticulously direct each and every sinner to God according to their spiritual condition. With regards to the extent of work that the Spirit needed to deliver a sinner; in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 16, Jesus said, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” Clearly, a human life is much more valuable than the whole world! By simple deduction, we can determine that the effort involved in saving the life of a sinner is more than what is required to create the whole universe! But by how much we do not know. The Lord compared the Spirit’s work to how a woman searched for a lost coin in the dark. Therefore, without a doubt, we know that it requires tremendous attention and strength to the extent of exhaustion to save a sinner. This radically corrects our understanding of the Holy Spirit whom we often view as omnipotent and capable of accomplishing all things with ease; so much so that even with the spiritual rebirth of a sinner, we believe that the Spirit does it effortlessly. Without this parable by the Lord, we would never understand the immense amount of work the Spirit puts into saving lost souls. When we start to understand how the Holy Spirit requires great effort to save sinners, we will begin to appreciate the true meaning of “the parable of the lost coin.”
The woman in the parable had ten silver coins. Having lost one, she still had nine. The coin that was lost in the dark represented the tax collectors and the sinners, while the other nine that remained in the light represented the Pharisees and the scribes. The Pharisees and the scribes abided strictly by the laws, lived an upright and holy life among the common people. They were like a white garment, spotless and undefiled, they represented those coins in the light. Conversely, the tax collectors and prostitutes were perpetual sinners and violators of the Law. They were recognised by everyone as those living in the darkness. Just like the coin lost in the dark corner, they fled from the righteous light of God, lost in their vile and adulterous way. The Pharisees and the scribes looked upon them as filth and an abomination, while they considered themselves precious and worthy in the sight of God. Should anyone claim that God had regarded the tax collectors and prostitutes more highly than the Pharisees and the scribes, everyone would burst into laughter and he would have made himself a mockery of the people. However, all their jesting and laughing would cease, for they had heard Jesus’ parable of the lost coin. When the woman in the parable found the lost coin, she invited her friends and neighbours to celebrate the recovery of the lost coin. She rejoiced over the lost coin more than the nine that were not lost. The Holy Spirit likewise chose a repentant tax collector or prostitute, over nine righteous Pharisees and scribes who did not need repentance. Everyone knows that nine silver coins are worth almost ten times more than a single coin, why then was the woman so passionate about that one coin as compared to the other nine? Because these are human emotions! The woman, who had endured great difficulties to retrieve the coin, naturally developed a special sense of attachment to it. What she saw in the coin was no longer its monetary value, but the sacrifice she had made to find it. The Holy Spirit likewise weighs the value of a person not according to how righteous that person is, but by the sacrifice He puts into saving that soul. For the higher the price paid, the deeper would be the love; the greater the sacrifice made, the more we would treasure. No matter whether it is the Son of God in the parable of the lost sheep or the Holy Spirit in the parable of the lost coin, the principle of how they evaluate a person is the same. They do not look at the number of righteous deeds done but rather at how much sacrifice they have made to save that soul. Although their roles and responsibilities in the salvation of a sinner are different, they measure a person’s worth in exactly the same way.
In a cold, damp and dark corner, a coin was sobbing bitterly. The ridicules and rebukes of the people, pierced deeply into his heart. His final destiny was to perish in his sins, what remained now and henceforth was only misery and despair. Suddenly, something caught his attention, he heard a still small voice calling in his heart, “Come back! Come back! Back into the bosom of God, do not wander any longer in the dark! I have roamed the four corners of the earth in search of you, now that I have found you, should I not show great mercy and compassion towards you?”