Stories Jesus told with women in them
The woman who found her silver coin (Luke 15:8-10)
One of the ways Jesus consistently presented as a controversial figure was by how much time He spent with people the Pharisees considered sinners.
Wherever Jesus went, the rejected and despised, the lowly and repudiated elements of society followed Him, drinking in His teaching, receiving His healing and release from inner bondage. To Jesus, tax collectors, prostitutes, widows, lepers, permanently disabled people of every variety, were...well...people. And Jesus loved people. He loved everyone intensely, and held out hope to whomever came to Him.
Trouble was, the Pharisees didn't come to Jesus for hope, or life, or wisdom, or healing, or freedom, or really anything. They were trying to either vet Him, or get rid of Him. But the last thing on their minds was ever considering whether they needed Him.
So, once again, Jesus was in the middle of a gathering of tax collectors and "sinners," and the Pharisees and teachers of the law--who were all trying to keep a close eye on Jesus and His activities--were lurking in the outskirts, muttering to each other about how the man who posed Himself as a rabbi and a healer, a man who purported to command even beings in the supernatural realm, and claimed to be God Himself, was once again exposing Himself as a filthy fraud, welcoming sinners and even eating with them. I can just hear them clicking their tongues in disgust, and putting up their noses, like they were smelling something rank.
They kept themselves far enough removed that no one would make the mistake of thinking they were part of that disreputable crowd. But, they also kept within earshot, so they could continue to gather incriminating evidence against Jesus.
So, Jesus told a few stories aimed especially at them--stories about losing something valuable and going all out to find it back.
- A shepherd with 99 sheep safe in the fold, but he risks all to find the missing sheep, stuck in the ravine.
- A father who was eager and overjoyed to take back his son, who had squandered all his inheritance, and smeared the family name with his ruinous misdeeds.
- And a woman who stopped everything to look for her missing silver coin
Here's the story:
"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 neighbors 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.”
It's not a tough story to work through! Jesus gives the meaning. The woman is God, pulling out the stops, halting every activity, taking whatever time is necessary, whatever effort is necessary, to look for the lost one, and bring the lost one back.
Speaking as a woman, it is refreshing and delightful that Jesus chose to use the figure of a woman looking for her coin as a metaphor for God seeking after you and me. I doubt anyone stopped Jesus, in that moment, and said, "Hey, wait a minute, you can't compare God to a woman! You can compare Him to a shepherd, or to a father, but a woman? No!"
I like to think the women in that gathered crowd felt a sudden warmth, felt honored, noticed, known, and loved, when they realized what Jesus was saying. They may have thought--as I did--about Genesis 1:27 Where God made a point of saying woman was also created in His own image.
The Pharisees didn't say anything either. They had way bigger problems. The story Jesus told right after that one was the famous "Prodigal Son," in which the Pharisees and religious leaders starred as the embittered older son. So they may have been gnashing their teeth over that unflattering expose of their hearts, and missed the significance of the woman with a silver coin.
Of course, that's a sidebar, special to us as women. The point Jesus was making was about rejoicing to be with those who knew they needed Him, needed salvation. The point is, in the heavenly realm, the angels totally get it, and they rejoice over everyone the Lord brings to repentance.
The point is, God focuses all the eternal infinite capital of His divinity on seeking, and saving, the lost.