8 “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? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10
The story that Jesus tells his followers in the “parable of the lost coin” might best be described as absurd. Think about the economy of this: a woman loses a coin, searches all over for it, finds it and then throws a party to celebrate. It would have been much more sensible to simply ignore the lost coin, get a good night’s sleep in order to be ready for work in the morning, and simply to forgo the party that is going to cost more than the value of the coin in the first place. That makes worldly sense, but that is not the point.
Jesus is pointing out the absurdity of God’s plan of salvation. Yes, absurdity. God cares so much about each individual person that, even though there are billions of us, he rejoices in the finding of each one. He and all of heaven rejoice when one person is found. To further demonstrate his absurdity – or maybe we had better start calling it “abundant mercy” or “lavish love” – the cost of this party is extremely high. The cost is the death of Jesus. Only by him and in him is there forgiveness. Only through the work of God the Holy Spirit is there any finding. There is finding because God is persistent. He keeps searching, diligently working to find each lost child, and then celebrating whenever any is found. That means you and me as well. Can you imagine? God threw a party in heaven just to celebrate you!