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Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Repentant Coin?

What woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’” (Lk 15:8-9)

This parable is simple and brief. It tells us of God’s nature. He diligently seeks out the lost and rejoices greatly when He has found you.  How comforting. How beatiful. How amazing. Nobody can possibly miss Jesus’ point here. But have you ever thought about how Jesus ends this parable?

Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  (Lk 15:10)

Jesus here emphasizes the heavenly joy of finding the lost. But He also says something else. He also equates this finding with repentance! This does not square very well with our notions of repentance. Perhaps that’s why this final point of the parable is rarely noticed.

In Jesus’ world, repentance means that He searches until He finds you. But where is our part in that?

If Jesus wanted to talk about repentance wouldn’t it be better to give the coin some free will? Maybe the coin should be like Frodo’s ring that “wants to be found.” Too bad Jesus does not understand repentance as well as we do. If He did, He would never have told such a ridiculous story of a repentant coin.

...or

...maybe

...He knows more about repentance that we do. Maybe we should learn from Him what repentance is. If we could learn to think like Jesus, repentance would no longer be the part of our salvation that we accomplish through the exercise of our free will. If we lived in Jesus’ world, repentance would be just as much as a gift from God as being found is a gift from God. And God would remain the One who seeks and saves the lost.

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