“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 15:9-10)
I wish my money would repent and come back to me.
In the three parables of Luke 15: The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin and the Lost Son, Jesus teaches the beauty and joy of a God who turns sinners and restores them to their rightful owner.
The theme running through all three parables is the same: Death, resurrection and a feast.
God had appointed shepherds over Israel but they had proved faithless. Jeremiah 23 and Ezekiel 34 tell us that part of their failure lay in the number of sheep that were lost under their watch.
On top of that Jesus implies that those shepherds were not only hopeless at their job, but also saw no reason to repent themselves.
Therefore, God sent Jesus. A Good Shepherd who would restore what had been lost. Those who acknowledged their true state are invited in to celebrate with the Good Shepherd.
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:24)
In the third parable we meet the older son. Like the Pharisees, he is pre-occupied with his own virtue, looking inward, and refuses to come inside and celebrate amongst sinners (Luke 15:27).
And so, he would remain outside, looking in, while those who had repented, sinners all of them, would be eating and drinking with Jesus under the joy and gladness of all Heaven.
What God was doing through His Son was anticipated long before in David, Israel’s Shepherd King. In Psalm 23, David sings, “He restores my soul”, which more literally means, “He repents my soul.”
David was a Shepherd. After his ascension to the throne he goes out and finds a lost sheep of the house of Benjamin (Mephibosheth) and invites him to eat at the Kings table.
But David was also a sheep who went gone astray until the Lord brought him back to the “paths of righteousness”.
In Jesus’ parable the sheep did not repent, much less the lost coin.
On this take, the repentance that Jesus rejoices over is not so much a “turning”, as it is a, “being turned”. Not so much a finding ourselves, but, “being found by Him.”