“Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Luke 15:8-10
Jesus, in being approached by Pharisees and scribes about His association with sinners, was given an opportunity to teach them about God’s attitude toward sinners. The preceding parable in Luke 15:1-7 was about a shepherd looking for a lost sheep while the other ninety-nine were left behind. Jesus said this is how God views sinners. He continues this in another parable, commonly called the parable of the lost coin.
A woman has lost a coin. Today women and men lose coins all the time and therefore the significance of Jesus’ parable is lost to many. This woman would have been understood by the Pharisees and scribes, Jesus’ audience, as being married. Being married means that she would have a dowry which is the base of support in the form of a wedding gift (Genesis 30:20; Exodus 22:17). She might have had her dowry sewn into her apparel, usually a type of head gear. In case of becoming widowed or divorced she would have a means to support herself in the absence of a husband.
Having lost part of her dowry the woman would have become quite distraught and would search very diligently to find the piece of silver. We do the same in our age when we search for items we have lost by increasing our lighting and cleaning away clutter. There is urgency in her search because she is not just looking for pocket change but is looking for her financial security. The piece of silver was equal to one day’s wage. There is also intimate familiarity. She knows exactly what she is looking for and hence anything else that might be considered of value is not acceptable. Only that one lost piece of silver will be sufficient to end her search. That piece of silver is so important to her that she does not rest until it is found. Does Jesus intend for us to understand that God searches for a lost sinner with the same understood veracity until that sinner is found and restored to God?
When the woman finds the piece of silver in verse nine she calls out to her friends and neighbors in celebration. Unless the friends and neighbors had been involved in the search this would be out of place. Conceivably, the woman would have enlisted their aid to help find the coin by retracing her recent outings to homes and other places she may have visited. They certainly would have reason to rejoice with her when she found the coin. Does Jesus intend for us to be aware that God enlists those that are close to Him to search for lost sinners and rejoice in their being found?
Verse ten concludes the parable with Jesus giving the understanding of the parable to the Pharisees and scribes. The Pharisees and scribes were questioning Jesus and His association with sinners. Jesus said, “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” The word “likewise” points back to the joy the woman had in finding the coin. God has joy when one sinner, who is intimately known by God and immensely valuable to Him, repents (Ezekiel 33:11). His joy is not contained but made known to the angels in heaven. How is the joy of God important in our response to a repentant sinner? “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:37
 Fred H. Wight, Manners and Customs of Bible Lands (Chicago: Moody Press, 1953), 128.
 Augustine, The Confessions of Saint Augustine, trans. Rex Warner (New York: Signet Classic, 1963), 221.